At first I’m just pissed off. I made an actual supper, and Matt is late. He had to pick up Astrid at gymnastics at 5:00 sharp. I calculate that he spent – max – five minutes signing her out, so he would have been to pick up Akeyla at preschool at 5:30 – at the latest. Then, even if they hit all the lights on Haywood Road, they should have been pulling into the driveway no later than 5:45. Supper is ready, and it is fish. And you don’t keep hot fish waiting, people.
As 5:45 ticks on to 5:50, I move through the stages of tardiness grief to denial. It’s not soooooo late, I think. They’ve gotten home this late before. I’m sure everything is OK.
Actually, there is no ticking, since all the clocks in the kitchen are digital, but the clock in my brain – my anxiety clock – is throbbing against my temple as the seconds slip by. And quickly I move from denial to fear. And stay there. Clearly, there has been a terrible accident. I am certain of it as 6:00 rolls over on the stove display.
I pull up the Department of Transportation Twitter feed, searching for accidents on their path home. If they aren’t home by 6:30, I will start calling hospitals.
At 6:04, I text my sister – my poor, unsuspecting sibling, no doubt preparing her own supper a time zone away: Matt & kids not home surely they r dead.
At 6:12, I prepare for the worst. I imagine what it will be like when the police come to the door. I put on actual pants and a bra should I have to rush out to the hospital. I plan their funerals. I mentally lay out what I will wear; I wonder if I will be able to speak or if I will be too overcome. I wonder if there is enough Klonopin in the world to get me through something like that. I decide it would be a good idea to take one right now. I struggle in my mind to cope with life after the loss of my family.
At 6:21, they rush through the door, all hugs and squeals and telling me about their days. “Mom, I did a back handspring!” “Mommy, I made this picture for you!” Matt asks me why I am crying. “You are so late!” I accuse. “Really? I had to stop at a client’s and drop off some keys.” “The fish is ruined now,” I sob.
My dad used to tell us that “the things you worry about most never happen.” I’m sure he meant this as a worry deterrent, but I always took it as, “OK, if I super-worry about this – worry about it the most ever – it won’t happen.” And I am proven right, yet again.
I’m hooking up with the Yeah, Write blogging challenge again this week! It’s an amazing group of supportive bloggers who write and writers who blog. Join us! The special Summer Series starts this week.