“Hi. My name is Catherine. I am nine years old.”
I glanced nervously over at my big brother, his grin both mischievous and proud. “Keep going,” he mouthed. I held the crayon written paper up in my shaking hand.
“This is my favorite radio station. Can you please play Achy Breaky Heart? It’s my favorite song.”
The dee-jay’s booming laugh bounced off my ear through the beige phone. “Shouldn’t you be in bed little girl?”
I threw the phone to my brother, the spiraled cord catching right before it hit his hands, sending it bouncing to the orangeish-brown carpet and sliding right back to me.
“Um…I guess so.” I somehow found the nerve to keep talking.
“Well alright. But after it plays, you go to bed, okay?” I guess the guy should have been concerned. After all, it was 2 a.m. Hopefully on the weekend. But I don’t remember. What I do remember is a night of innocence and laugh-til-you-cry giggles. Just me and my big bro, goofing off, without a care. I remember getting soexcited that Billy Ray was on the radio, the lyrics to his cheesy career launcher sending me into near hysterics. “Don’t break my heart, my achy breaky heart…” I sang. And danced. And annoyed my big brother. But as much as we fought growing up, this was a night that he actually liked me.
He helped me make ramen noodles in the microwave, one of the few “junk” foods we were allowed in our house. Mmm…MSG. I can still hear the familiar sound of my parent’s microwave opening and closing. They still have it. It’s probably older than me. Bought it from JCPenney’s they did. We always hit “cancel” before it got to zero, for fear of waking up my parents with the beep…beep…beep.
But we must not have been too scared. In fact, our successful radio request gave us a little boost of courage. “Let’s call again,” my brother dared. And unbelievably, we did. And I read the same script, to the same dee-jay. And it worked. He played that darn song three times. He must have been bored. But I’d like to think we were just that clever. Over and over again, I grooved to the mullet-man’s tune, while my brother added his own silliness to the lyrics, “Don’t break my fart, my achy breaky fart…”
“Stop it, Luke! I can’t hear the soooong!” Only I did hear it. Three times. And it was awesome.
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