Monday, April 4, 2011

Secret Question

Remember when this happened? When my coveted Smart Phone took a splash, and my gracious hero gave me his?

We bought a new one for him shortly after, and his phone has been tucked safely into my bedside table for over three months now... since I turned it off on December 23. I was waiting for the day when I might choose to upgrade, to make it my own. A small step, you might believe, but really, a leap of great magnitude.

His phone. His calendar. His stored pictures.

Sure, a Verizon rep can clear those out for me, but I didn't want a clean slate. I wanted what was his; I wanted it to be mine. I wanted to splice our calendars together, the last blending of our two worlds.

But I needed to prepare my heart.

Yesterday was the day. I brought it out of hibernation, and I took it with me to Verizon.

"Welcome to Verizon. How can we help you today?"

"Hi, there. Well, here's the deal. This phone belonged to my husband, and I would like to transfer my contacts and apps to this phone and make it mine."

There is no reason to tell why the phone is now mine. I am learning to avoid this topic with people who don't need to know; the words are too hard to say, and I'm giving my pearls to swine. It only makes it awkward as they try to figure out what to say to this young woman who just explained far more than they expected to hear.

The phone was his. Now it's mine. Let's leave it at that.

"Absolutely, ma'am. Can you tell me your account password?"

My account password. You'd sure think I could. That's an easy thing for a girl to know... unless her husband managed all of her accounts.

What was your password, Robb? What was it?

"Um, let's try this."

I type in my best guess. The one he used for many things.

Password Incorrect.

"Ma'am, if you're not sure, we can simply click 'Forgot Password,' and it will prompt you with a secret question to answer."

"Yes. Let's try that."

Click, click, click.

"What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?"

Not mine. His. It wants to know his favorite flavor of ice cream.

Suddenly, I felt like I was on a newlywed game, where they separate us and ask us a bunch of detailed questions about each other to measure just how well we really know each other, just how deep our true love is.

Ice cream... ice cream.

My mind flashed through a million dates with him, a million desserts.

Cookies and cream? That's what he chose at the grocery store. What he liked to have on hand in the freezer. Breyer's, most especially.

But the man sure loved chocolate peanut butter cup.

And sometimes he could go for a nice bowl of vanilla. With chocolate syrup and whipped cream.

Double Chocolatey Chip Frappuccino was his favorite at Starbucks. Double blended.

But he loved a good root beer float. And a fruit smoothie.

Mint Chocolate Chip? No, that's mine. But he might have chosen that for my phone's account.

He may have chosen any of the above, just to mix things up a bit. But maybe he was craving his tried and true when they asked him to choose a password.

Oh, come on. What is it?? Think, Tricia. Think. You know this man.

"Let's go with Cookies and Cream."

I enter the password.

The spinning wheel on the screen tells me it's thinking, comparing our answers.

And then these words pop up:

"You have successfully answered the secret question."

I knew it. I knew the answer. I knew his ice cream. I knew his favorites.

I knew them then. I know them now.

My eyes well with the tears that are never far away. I answered his question.

Ask me a thousand more.

I bet I know those too.


karen said...

I have prayed for your cell phone visit; I knew you must at some time. Mine was devastating--Alltel (who is now owned by Verizon and hopefully doesn't treat widows that way). I had Ted's obit tucked in my purse--but oh no--even though I could answer questions, they made me go get the death certificate. It was traumatic and it was only a few weeks after his death.
I have not changed the electric company, the gas company, the landline company--
I needed to do the cell phone company because I needed to change some of the services.
so , I have prayed for your visit to the cell phone company.

Noel said...

Way to go, girl. Good job being brave and going in to do this hard task, and also, knowing the answer! I hate passwords. My bank log-in always asks me where we went on our honeymoon. I hate that, but haven't figured out how to change it. My husband was the one responsible for all the tech stuff. So I just suck it up every time.

thewonderfulhappens said...

that must have been very satisfying. And I understand what you mean about keeping the "whys" to yourself. I have learned too, in different situations, that there is no need to give more information than necessary. People just don't know what to do with it anyway.

Claire said...

And even if you don't, you will never forget that Robb loved you and the boys deeply...just as you will always love him :)

The Hemmers said...

A friend shared with me the link to your blog. (with the caveat of "please don't hate me! I just hoped it might help to know you're not alone!") You see, I lost my beloved on March 3rd of this year. In some ways I envy you. You have two beautiful boys. Greg died before we could marry. The cancer took its toll before our dreams could come to fruition. I don't regret loving him. But it's hard being known only as his "girlfriend", when the bond was much deeper. I wish I had his name...
I'm grateful that I was able to save our texts and the messages from his phone. The last voicemail I have says: "I love you, Melody. You know that, but you still need to hear me say it. So...I love you. I look forward to when we can see each other again, hopefully soon! And I look forward to when we can be together again and not have to say good-bye."
Thank you for sharing your experiences. It does help some to know that there are others struggling with grief too. I'll be praying for you.