THOUGHTS OF A FRUITCAKE: By Carolyn Aldis
So, after an ordinary day, I arrived home, having picked up my youngest daughter from school. I like to get a snack ready for my children, after their busy day at school and so I put some pitta bread in the toaster. My 3 older daughters usually come home together and as I made myself a cup of tea, the front door opened and 2 of them walked in.
“Where’s your sister?” I asked, a little concerned.
“I don’t know…”Came the reply, “She’s normally back early today.”
“Well, where is she?” I said, feeling a little anxious.
I was told to “Try her phone.”
I hunted down my mobile and called her…it went to voicemail and a cold dread started to fill my heart. Her phone is never off, she is in Sixth form, for crying out loud, why is it off? She’s been kidnapped, every second counts, she’s dead in a ditch!
My irrational thoughts took all of 30 seconds to take hold…
“Maybe she is still at school, doing something?” Another sensible suggestion, but I was past rational thinking.
“But she would have let me know…”
I racked my brain, trying to remember if there was anything she may have said she was doing. I was unsure what to do…call the school? Ring the police? And say what? My 16 year old daughter is half an hour late back from school? It doesn’t sound a big deal…but my daughter never breaks from routine without letting us know. I opened the door to look down the road.
I spotted one of her friends and asked if he had seen her. He replied no, but that she might have been in the common room. I mentioned her phone was off and he agreed this was unusual. He had to go and so I scuttled back inside the house, feeling anxious. A voice called out from the lounge “She’s replied! She’s on her way home.”
“Well, that’s a relief.” I said, feeling emotional.
She came in carrying folders and not wearing a coat and told us her sequence of events. A teacher had wanted to discuss some work with her, with the immortal line “It will only take 5 minutes…”
As she sat there, she watched the clock hands go round, barely listening, thinking “My Mum is going to be so worried.” When he had finished, she didn’t even stop to put her folders in her locker, or collect her coat, she came straight home, knowing her daft mother would be panicking and thinking the worst. I smiled weakly as she gave me a hug, telling me it’s all right.
I was struck by the fact that she had come straight home, lugging those folders and braving the cold, to save time, to reassure me and I felt emotional again…then she was telling me that soon, there will come a day when she will be away at Uni and I won’t have any idea where she is or what she’s doing and I realise that at the age of 41, I have a lot of growing up and letting go to do…