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By Magin Lasov Gregg

The first night you think you will call your father, you sit on your front porch and watch the sky fade from sherbet orange to cotton candy pink to bruise purple.

Your phone sits in your lap, its smudged screen turned up, so you can see your reflection in the dying light. You notice a vague resemblance to him in your dark eyes and milky teeth. Recently, you met one of his Cincinnati cousins, who gasped and said, “You look just like him.” But you wondered how that could be, because all your life you always heard how much you resembled your mother.

     The last time you called your mother was fourteen years ago, well before iPhones existed, well before you owned a house with a porch. Back then, you and your father weren’t talking. He didn’t even know your mother was sick. You were twenty-one when she died. But you still remember your final phone call with her. C-Span played in the background, and Tony Blair’s murmurs of WMDs underscored your last conversation. Only, you did not know it was your last conversation. How can you ever know when a conversation will be the last conversation? So when she said “I love you,” and hung up the phone, you thought you were just saying goodbye for the night.

    But now, as you sit with your phone untouched, you wonder whether she’d understand why you can’t type the four digit code to unlock the screen, your password identical to the one she used for everything. You still remember her phone number, and you dial it sometimes, but hang up when another woman answers. You never hesitated to call your mother when she and you could still talk. Why would you hesitate? She was your mother, the one certainty in your life. Your mother, not perfect, but who you can’t help but saint in the afterlife because she made you feel safe and good in the world. She loved you no matter what horrible things you did or said as a teenager with rage issues, the worst thing being what you said to your father when you were fifteen.


About the Author

Magin LaSov Gregg lives, writes, and teaches in Frederick, Maryland. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Washington Post, The Dallas Morning News, The Rumpus, The Manifest-Station, Literary Mama, Bellingham Review, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. Proximity named her as a finalist in its inaugural 2016 Personal Essay Prize. She blogs about life after loss on her personal website ( and swears she will finish her first memoir in 2018.