It started in October. A guest joining us a night or two each week for 30 minutes or so. Now, she’s here almost every Sunday – Thursday night, for hours on end.
I don’t know when she gets here although on many evenings, I’m the reason she leaves.
After dinner, Stephanie heads upstairs to her room to begin to slog through her homework. She’s a smart kid in a school that is extremely challenging. Kimmy is in most of her classes. They “study” together most nights from 8 – 11 PM, sometimes later.
Kimmy’s head is perched on Stephanie’s phone screen lying in the middle of the bed night after night after night. It’s an app called Facetime, I think.
Often, they don’t talk. They’re doing their own thing. When the occasional question arises, they are there to answer.
I pop into Steph’s bedroom perhaps in my boxers.
“Dad, Kimmy’s here. Put your pants on!”
I run away in shame holding my hand over my groin in case.
I might bustle in with a piece of juicy information, “Sarah’s mom told Sarah’s dad that Mrs. Phiserdine’s daughter was drinking on Friday night. Do you know anything? I promised Phil I wouldn’t say anything so mums the word!”
Too late. Kimmy was hiding under the quilt. I hear them giggle as I walk back down the stairs.
The other day I came in to unload some laundry. I walked over to the bed. It was empty. Well, almost.
Hello Mr. Tanner.
I looked up. Gabrielle? I’m here. I’m ready to go. No. No. It’s Kimmy.
“Hello Kimmy Gibbler. So nice to see you tonight.”
Stephanie’s in the shower.
“Yes. I know. I live here. How’s school?”
“I’m just gonna go back downstairs now…”
When I hit Stephanie’s room late to unpack the day and encourage sleep, we often get into our best conversations. I often look down, and Kimmy is with us.
“Don’t worry dad. I muted her. She can’t hear anything.”
“She’s sitting here, and she can’t hear anything?”
Stephanie turns her off.
“Aren’t you going to say goodbye?”
“Nah. Usually one of our phones dies. That’s when we stop.”
There is no official goodbye.
I pick on them, but I sort of think it’s nice. It’s company and friendship, the 21st Century kind. Technology can be relational.