Thursday, September 30, 2010

missing child (lyn)

Alexander is 17, and next year he’ll be in college, on his own.  So he’s old enough to take a bus to Philadelphia by himself to spend the day with a friend going to classes at Penn.  But still, as his mother, I worry. 

Will he get to 34th and 8th by 7:30am?  Will he get off at the right stop (there are two stops in Philadelphia)?  Will he be able to get himself from the bus station to the campus?  Will he be able to do the same thing in reverse when it’s time to return home?  He still is careless so I worry. 

Last night Alexander was washing out his football clothes in the bathroom sink and went in the other room to do something.  He flooded the bathroom.  Maybe there is no relationship between running water and forgetting about it and getting on and off a bus incident-free, but still, I think about these things.

At 3:15, Alexander calls from the bus station.  The day has gone well.  He’s taking the 4pm bus home.  Should arrive at 6, and be home by 6:30.  Oh, “And my phone is running out of batteries, so don’t worry if I don’t pick up.”

I’m meeting 6 friends for dinner at T-Bar to celebrate Zelia’s birthday.  Before leaving the house at 7:20, I leave a note on the table, “Call me when you get home.” 

I get to the crowded, very now-restaurant, and soon everyone arrives.  I’m ignoring healthy-eating tonight.   We end up ordering for the table a bottle of red wine, some salads (I split an amazing Burrata Pugliese salad), strip steaks, steamed spinach, haricot verts, a layered birthday cake, and cappuccino.  We are having a great time when I notice the time.  It’s 8:20, and still no word from Alexander.  I leave the noisy restaurant and go outside.

I text him.  No response.  I call him.  It goes straight to voice mail.  I call our house.  No answer.  I totally freak out.  Now I’m sure something horrid has happened, and I start to imagine the possibilities.

I call Bolt bus.  Was the bus delayed?  It takes me three times to get through and then I’m disconnected while waiting for Ricky in Operations who can tell me if my son made it on the bus.  I’m about to walk out on my dinner and go home and call Bolt Bus again, when I think to call my neighbor Karen.  I doubt Alexander will be home, or he would have called, but I ask her if she’d mind checking.  She leaves her two sleeping children and goes down the hall.  I hear her knocking on the door saying, “Alexander, are you home?  Your mom is looking for you.”  And then I hear his voice in response.  I’m more relieved then angry.

Apparently his phone had died; he arrived in NY around six, but then stopped at his grandparents on the way home to pick up a book he’d forgotten, then came home, and well, he is 17, and calling his mom is not the first thing on his mind.

I return to dinner relieved and enjoy the rest of the 40-point celebration.  Later he asks me, “Are you going to ask me next year to text you when I leave the dorm and then text you when I arrive at my class safely then text you when I go to the library, and text you when I get home for the night?”  If only I could!

No comments:

Post a Comment