It’s 2a.m. right now. I rarely stay up this late without an assignment pressing down on my back. I’m still up because there’s only two people home in my small, awkward family of three and I can’t go to bed until the third one comes through the door. It was already late when I checked on my mum three hours ago. She stays out late when she feels under the weather and urging her to come home “right now, please?” usually doesn’t work. So I leave gentle reminders and let her be. She’s an adult; I’m just barely there. But she’s never stayed out this late before.
I’m pretty sure I’ve called her thirty times now. And left a single text message. Just one because she’s nearly English illiterate and I’m illiterate in anything not English. She didn’t pick up or reply for the full hour that I had been calling. I know she doesn’t hear the phone where she usually hangs out but it’s no reason not to hope. That, and it’s amazing how many terrible things you can imagine in those moments of empty static. Optimism isn’t gold-plated armour.
She picked up eventually. No, she doesn’t know how many times I called her; she hasn’t checked. She felt the phone vibrate this one time out of three dozen. Yes, she’s in a bad mood, feeling bored and restless without a reason. Okay, she’s coming home soon.
“Now,” I insist. “Now would be good.”
She speaks in a childish, teasing tone, sounding slightly lost, and that’s how I know she really isn’t upset over anything specific. We make hopeless banter. Come home and I’ll cheer you up. How? Come and find out. I try not to mention that I was teetering on the verge of calling the place to look for her, but some things still slip out. I can’t sleep until everyone is home. I have an assignment to do tomorrow – today – and I can’t get any rest until you’re home right now.
I’m not angry but I’m frustrated. I was scared and I even went down to the garage to see if she was hiding there. I wondered if calling her straight after she finished work would have made all the difference. I should have taken those few minutes. I should have done this, I should have done that. But it’s not my fault and when it boils down to it, it’s not hers either. Life happens, moodswings come and go, and the fearful kid never really grows up.
I wouldn’t call this a depressing or angry vent (it helps though). It’s more of an observation; that it’s scary when the parent becomes human in front of the child. Parents are superheroes, with all the answers to the world. I think that’s why I don’t like growing up; they don’t indulge me in my curiosities anymore and suddenly I’m old enough to be exposed to things that aren’t all innocent rainbows.
So the moral of the story? Please let your loved ones know where you are. It makes it easier for everyone. Don’t take anything for granted. A lot of sleep will be lost.