We picked up student son from university, last Friday, as he wanted to come home for the weekend. I was overcome with joy when I realised that he was bringing 3 weeks' washing with him. Hurrah! Lots of dark clothes to accompany my dark socks in the washing machine and make up a load. I wouldn't have to wear my odd socks, for a while, then. Hmmm.....
The following evening, student son had arranged to go out with some of his friends. They were travelling by 'bus into the nearest city, a journey of about 13 miles, to visit a couple of clubs. When I went to bed that night, my son still hadn't returned from his evening out, but I wasn't too worried, as he had told me that he and his friends expected to be too late to catch the last 'bus, so intended to return by taxi.
I couldn't sleep, because I had already fallen asleep on the settee downstairs, during the evening, so I read, until I felt tired. Every time I tried to lie down and sleep, however, I found that I couldn't settle and I didn't finally sleep until my third attempt. After a couple of hours, I woke up and went into student son's bedroom to check his bed, but it was still empty. It was 3 am and I began to conjure up pictures of student son lying alone, in the gutter, in some dark side street. He had spent the night away from home, without letting me know, on 2 other occasions and each time, he had stayed with the same friend. I reassured myself that, once again, he would be staying at his friend's house.
About 2 hours later, I woke again and checked student son's bed. He was still missing. I checked the 'phones for messages or texts, but found nothing. By this time, I imagined that student son had probably been run over, whilst lying alone, in the gutter, in the same dark side street. Alternatively, I imagined him telling me the next day, that I had been silly for worrying about him, when he had only been at his friend's house.
At 7 am, I woke again, realised that student son still hadn't come home and imagined him being rescued from the gutter, in the dark side street, by 2 paramedics and then being rushed to Accident and Emergency, in an ambulance, with the siren wailing. I told myself not to be silly. My 3 sons had each worried me on the odd occasion, by staying out late, or not coming home at all. Each time, I had been concerned in case something had happened to them, but my fears had always proved unfounded.
At 8 am, I texted student son, asked him where he was and told him that his eldest brother was coming to lunch, with his girlfriend, so that they could see him before he went back to university. At 10 am, I texted again and asked if he was okay. I knew that if he had been admitted into hospital, I would have been contacted by now, so I was beginning to feel annoyed about being ignored by him.
I was in the bathroom at about 10.30 am, when I heard the front door open and then I heard student son's voice. I sighed with relief, realising that he must have been at his friend's house, after all, and he had obviously just walked home from there.
I went out onto the landing, leaning over the rail, at the top of the stairs, just in time to see my son taking off his t-shirt. I was puzzled by the fact that he had several round stickers on his chest and a sticking plaster in the crook of his right elbow. He glanced up at me, suddenly, and said 'Guess who spent the night in A and E, then?'
In which I am almost perfect
2 days ago