Through the closed windows I hear the muffled rumblings of trucks barreling through the nearby intersection. As I stumble out of bed to double check they are properly sealed, I watch a random minivan slam on its brakes as it wrongfully pulls into oncoming traffic; one horn blasts, and then another.
I draw the heavy curtains from both sides of the room to drown out the world below as much as possible, and glance at the antique clock on the bedside table: very dimly lit from the light beneath the bedroom door, I can make out 9:36. Could that be right? I move back towards the bed and switch on the lamp to illuminate the clock face and notice the second hand is frozen in time at 47 seconds past the minute.
Deciding it doesn’t matter, I climb back into the bed, switch off the lamp, and pull the luxuriously soft sheets over my body.
Sirens vaguely drift in and out of my attention, one quiets down as another flares up, and another blares more loudly then I hoped could penetrate through the thick, double layered floor to ceiling drapes.
With the covers tucked snuggly around my chin, I attempt to settle back into a peaceful sleep. I turn from one side to the other only to feel that tingly sensation in my legs that forces fitful kicks and squirms upon me, driving sleep away.
As I lie in the dark, attempting to breathe deeply and relax my legs enough to fall asleep, the time, and the fact that I don’t know where it stands, begins to bother me. Will I be lying here awake for three more hours? six?
With a sigh, I open the closet where I have stowed my belongings, and pull out my lifeless phone. Holding down the power button, I lament the loss of my technology-less (except light, hot water, all that wonderful stuff) 48 hour mini mother-daughter vacation.
Of course, Natalie was apprehensive at the thought of spending a weekend with her mom at a beautiful two bedroom luxury condo in the middle of this grand city that she once would have begged to visit. But who I am kidding? She is 16 and the only subject that I could incite any glimmer of interest about on the entire two hour drive was when I asked her to tell me about her upcoming plans with her girlfriends.
When had those girls that she has only known for the past two years become her whole world? How had I let the trust and security of our relationship slip away from her heart?
After a day of walking the streets, window shopping, and eating delicious street food, she had steadfastly insisted that she would spend the evening shut up in her cozy bedroom, exclaiming that she just felt like settling down and chatting with friends.
Who wants to die on that hill? Sacrifice the remainder of our parent-teen trip because I can’t handle the idea of my daughter needing to have a little independence? Not I; I can take it.
So I spent my evening with a glass of wine and a good book perched on the super comfortable feather-top bed in the beautiful lavender scented master bedroom of our mother-daughter suite.
I suppose I fell asleep right after the girl realized she would never be able to free her little brother from the hidden cupboard she had locked him in when the police were banging at her door.
That’s the last thing I remember before I awoke to the sounds of the traffic on the street below.
My face is probably tear stained even now.
My phone is finally powered up, and just as I register the time: 3:24am, a double vibration alerts me of an awaiting message from Chelsea, one of Natalie’s friends.
I don’t know why she would be calling me, but my phone has been off for the past 24 hours, so who knows what it’s about.
But then, more vibrations ripple through my hand as I see text after text from Chelsea. Beginning almost four hours ago.
“Please call ASAP!”
“Where R U?”
“Please help me!”
Alarm bells ring incessantly in my head as I throw open my bedroom door and bound over to the second bedroom where I last heard Natalie furiously clack-clack-clacking away on the keyboard of her phone. But she is not to be found beneath the mound of blankets and pillows thrown haphazardly upon the bed.
Frantically I spin around the room, taking in her book on the side table, her clothes draped over the chair, her slippers peaking out from under the bed. Everything that is hers is still here.
Suddenly I realize my phone is vibrating unremittingly in my hand, and I answer Chelsea’s incoming call.
“MOM! My phone died and I am locked out! I forgot your Birthday gift at Chelsea’s and I begged her to bring it to me so you wouldn’t be disappointed tomorrow and we’ve been out here since 11:30! I am totally freaking out… there are weirdos down here and we’ve been locked in her car forever! PLEASE let us in!”
Right. My birthday.
So I set off for the front door, and as I glimpse my reflection in the hall mirror, I realize that my cheeks are stained; but not with the dried tears of sadness for the little boy who would probably die locked up in a dark cupboard. They are stained with tears of joy that my 16 year old daughter truly loves me.
Please note: I am not the mother of a 16 year old, and thus am not pining for her.
This post was inspired by the weekly writing challenge.