Stella* has resurfaced…
So many of you may remember reading about my dear friend Stella* who is one of the family members we served on Get On The Bus. Stella* has appeared in several of my posts starting on 2/13/10. Just for reminder’s sake, she is the woman who I met during what we are both convinced was a ‘fate induced’ phone call. She was desperate to get her boyfriend’s two little boys to visit him at the California Men’s Colony prison, as their mom had just suddenly passed from cancer and they hadn’t seen their dad in many years. Again through a true miracle and the help of my fantastic staff at the time, we were able to do it. From then on, we have referred to each other as “The Holy Hook-Ups,” as nothing short of a miracle happened to successfully get the boys to see their estranged father.
The thing that I love about Stella* is that she just doesn’t go away. She constantly used to call me at the Get On The Bus office. If she couldn’t get a hold of me, she used to leave me messages that lasted for 10-15 minutes where she would pick up from the last time we talked, which in some cases could be quite a while. She has a very funny and endearing way to make you burst out laughing with joy and also cry with the turns her life seems to take.
She also has this undying belief that I am someone whose name means something. Even though I have told her time and time again that people don’t care about who I am and that dropping my name to people won’t help her, she is insistent that it does. What is even more crazy is that sometimes it works! Again, I take no credit for this, but she has threatened to call me when the prison wouldn’t let her into visit with her loved one and miraculously according to her, the gates opened. Another time she called me during a court hearing while she was being tried and told me to talk with the judge. I said, “Stella*, hang up this phone right now. You are going to get in trouble.” She then said, “Maria, I tried to not call you but I told the judge that I was going to do it. You know me, I am a woman of my word.” Luckily, she did listen to me and she hung up the phone before the judge saw her on it and she was released from the court for a wrongful conviction.
When my phone rang the other day and I saw an L.A. area code, I had no idea who was on the other end. I decided to let the call go to voicemail and when I picked it up, guess who had left one of her infamous messages? You got it…Stella*. In her normal way, her message went through a gammit of emotions. She first told me that she was very angry at me for leaving her. Who could she call now while she was in court? Who could be her new Holy Hook-Up? She said that no one asked for her vote on me leaving. She then started laughing and said, “Girl, you know I’m playing. I do miss you though. I called your office 15 times and listened to the voice message for your name. When it didn’t happen, I dialed Jennifer and asked her where you were? She said New York and she asked if I could help her? You know what my response was…if the name is not Maria or Karen, you can’t help me. Get me Maria’s phone number. I gotta put this on my speed dial.”
I called Stella* back and she shared with me that she is actually going to be moving to the East Coast too. She needs to be by her own family in Maryland. It was so wonderful to catch up with her and for her to make sure that I didn’t slip through the cracks. As always, she is always grateful for my ear and she truly believes that I have all the answers she needs. However, this time on the phone, I was able to give her a gift. I was able to tell her for all this time that it wasn’t me that was solving anything, it was her. She was able to pull herself up in times of need, I was just a sound board. For the first time ever, she got that and I could hear the emotion coming through the phone. As we hung up, she asked, “Maria, can we still talk on the phone even though you are a sound board?”
My response, “Stella* that’s what friends are for?”
Be a friend today to someone who needs it. 🙂
*Names have been changed.