Ladies and gents, this is the tree:
9:30 p.m, Friday night: Trying to fix the plot hole had made my head ache so badly I wanted to howl. And I was cold–the type of chill that went bone deep. So I poured a bath, and got into it while it was still filling. An ordinary tub of warm water wasn’t going to do it for me. I added bubbles, and because I was feeling really hard done by, I added some bath salts too. (Old skin needs softening and tense necks need Epson.) Then I leaned back. Told myself not to think about it for a least 20 minutes. When the water level was waist-high, I stretched for the taps. And that’s when I thought I heard the phone. I tilted my head.
Ring. Ring. Ah, yes the phone.
I was naked, and the tub is a good distance from the phone. Screw it, I thought. I leaned back and turned off the hot water. Let them call back. But wouldn’t you know it? Four minutes later, the phone rang again. Persistent devil. I sighed, grabbed a towel and padded to answer it.
And this is the apple:
Irate Female Voice: Where. Have. You. Been?
Her: Why didn’t you answer the phone? (????)
Me: I was taking a bath. (And now by golly, I’ve left a trail of bubbles from the tub to the bed.)
Her.: It’s Friday night!
Me: (Was it really? Where had the week gone?) Okay.
Her: It’s 9:30 p.m. on a Friday night.
Me: Uh huh.
Her: Do you know how scary that was? You didn’t answer your phone. I thought you’d fallen.
Me: (She’ll have me wearing one of those panic buttons in a moment). Uhm, no.
Her: Or something bad had happened to you. It’s FRIDAY NIGHT! You’re always home!
Me: Am I always home on Friday night? *stops to think* Crap. I am. God, have I turned into my Mom?
Her: I called the home phone three times! I called your cell twice! No one answered! I was three minutes away from calling (insert brother’s name)! I thought you might have had a car accident–and no one knew! Because Dad’s out of town!
This is the apple falling from the tree.
I`m smiling now, listening to her as she paints several scenarios, from bad to grim to downright foul.
I didn’t answer the phone. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be.
I sat down on the bed. Adjusted my towel. Crossed my legs. The situation struck me eerily similar to the night she told me that she was going to meet Cleo at Tim Horton’s for a cup of tea, and that she’d be home by 11:30. And even though, at the time, by any yardstick, she’d have been considered an adult, I freaked out when she wasn’t home by 1:00 a.m. (because she’d said she would be home in a half hour) and (drumroll please) she
DIDN’T ANSWER HER CELL PHONE.
And then I got up out of bed, and got dressed, and drove to the Tim Horton’s. She wasn’t there. I went to all of them within a 10K district (including the one near the travelling carnie show that I’d noticed earlier in the day). I just needed to see that she was all right, you know? If I saw her sitting there, talking to Cleo, I was going to make like a shadow and tiptoe back to my bed.
I never did find her. And I received a well-deserved tongue-lashing when my husband spilled the beans about Rescue Mom. But that was five years ago. And this was now. I plumped up one of the pillows. Leaned back, and enjoyed.
This is the apple that didn’t fall far from the tree.