My mother rang me this afternoon. ‘I’m really worried about him. He hasn’t rung me for 3 days. Have you heard from him?’

She was, of course, referring to her only grandson, and my only son, Trent. And no, I hadn’t heard from him for a few days. Which was unusual for him, as he liked to keep in touch.

My mother continued, her voice getting higher and faster. ‘He rang me 3 days ago, but he hasn’t rung me since. He usually rings me every afternoon. I’m really worried about him.’

I wasn’t overly worried about him at that point, as he could sometimes run out of phone and Internet credit, but I decided to ring him on his mobile, because even if he didn’t have credit, he could answer my calls.

I called at around 3 pm, but there was no answer. I tried another half a dozen times at half-hour intervals, but he wasn’t picking up. By about 8 pm I was getting a bit concerned. My mother rang again.

‘Have you heard anything? Has he picked up his phone? I think I might take a drive over there to see if he’s okay.’ By this time Mum was in a frenzy, an she was fast whipping me into one as well. It had just started to rain, and Mum couldn’t see too well in the dark when she was driving.

‘Don’t worry about it Mum, I will come and get you and we will both go over there and see if he is okay. I will have to get myself organised.’ I put down the phone and sighed. I live on an island. It was raining harder, and the ferry would only run until 11 pm. There was little chance I would get back home in time to get the last ferry. I would have to pack myself, my things, my medications and the dogs and stay at Dad’s place for the night.

I raced around the house like a banshee. I had a quick shower and got dressed, made sure that everything was locked up and I had everything. I was breaking out in a sweat from exertion and anxiety. At best my son would  be okay and had left his phone at home while he went to his friends place to watch movies. At worst he was lying in a ditch somewhere bleeding, hurt. I was getting as paranoid as my mother.

I rang my mother just before I walked out the door. ‘I’ll be on the 9 pm ferry. I’ll get the dogs in the car on the mainland and I’ll come and pick you up.’

‘Do you think that you should be coming over in the pouring rain? Maybe he’s okay and we could go tomorrow morning.’ She was having second thoughts. She knows what I drive like when I’m agitated. ‘Try ringing him again to see if he answers.’

So I rang him. I had nothing to lose.

‘Hello?’ It was my son.

‘Where the hell have you been? I’ve been ringing you all day!’

‘What do you mean? I’m alright. I’ve been at a friend’s place.’

By this time I was beyond agitation. I had my mother on the landline in one ear, and my son in the other ear on my mobile. ‘Your grandmother and I were just about to drive over there! Your grandmother has been having a heart attack!’ I could vaguely hear mum in my right ear as I listened to my son in the other. She was ranting something about how she wasn’t that worried at all. Yeah, right.

‘I didn’t have any credit on my phone or the Internet. I didn’t think about it. Besides, I don’t need to check in every 24 hours do I?’ Now he was bordering on belligerence.

‘Don’t get too smart with me boy, we were just worried about you.’ I could hear my mother agreeing on the other line. I had to get rid of one of these phones. My brain was splitting in half. ‘Goodnight Trent, I will talk to you tomorrow.’

Now we could all relax. My mother went back to her laptop solitaire, and I unpacked my stuff and made myself a cup of tea. Tea fixes everything around here.

I wound down after a while. My son was just being normal. Which was a miracle in itself, considering a few years ago I thought that he might be dead by now. Of course we were overprotective. It had taken us a long time to get to this point. My son is a schizophrenic, and life has not been very easy for him. We nearly lost him a few times when he lost faith that he would ever feel close to normal again.

He’s doing okay now. He’s independent and he’s having a life. A bit too independent sometimes.

It makes my heart glad.


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