~

I’ve been waiting by the phone for at least an hour and a half. I know it’s silly of me, but I just can’t stop wondering if he’ll call.

The little readout on the phone says that it’s almost ten thirty, but it feels like it’s so much later… everything around me seems dark. There are lights on in the house, but my nervousness is blanketing them in a heavy fog. I keep telling myself that I shouldn’t worry, that everything will be just fine, but my instincts keep me here, waiting.

Waiting and wondering, consumed by the anticipation… it feels like nothing could be worse than this.

It’s bizarre, but some distant part of my brain just realized that I’m biting my nails. I got rid of that habit years ago, but I can’t help it now. I haven’t felt this anxious since… well, this is the worst anxiety I’ve ever felt. When I last spoke to him, we didn’t have the nicest conversation. In fact, we were only a few words away from a full-blown fight. Now, I can’t even properly remember what it was about – only that, in hindsight, it was stupid. Most arguments are like that.

Still, I wonder if it’s still on his mind. I’m still thinking about it, but at least I’m hoping that we can move on from it. I don’t know if he’s thinking the same way. Our relationship has been getting a little strained over the past couple of months, and now that I have the chance to sit quietly and reflect, I find myself thinking that a lot of that stress could’ve easily been avoided. I think our biggest problem right now is trust – I’m always worried that he doesn’t trust me enough, and I’m pretty sure that he’s been thinking those exact thoughts.

I love him, but… is that enough? Even if you love someone, there are some things you just might not want to trust them with-things like responsibility.

I’ve been asking myself that question, among many others, for the entire night as I’ve been sitting here. Love and trust should not be mutually exclusive, but for a while now both of us have been acting like they are. In hindsight, it’s very hard for me to believe it, but we’ve been playing the blame game for far too long. Neither of us are really at fault, and yet at the same time both of us could’ve stopped this before it got out of hand. If he gives me another chance, I swear with all my heart that I’ll try to fix what broke between us.

First, however, he needs to trust me again. I’ve heard all the stories about the lies and the half-truths, the little deceptions and the lost faith, escalating to what seems to be an epidemic of mistrust. So many lives are broken apart along the path the two of us are starting to walk, and I will fight until my last breath to stop that from happening. The last thing I want is to lose him, but for all I know, I already have.

All my hopes are resting upon the phone.

If he calls, it won’t be for a good cause, but it’ll show me that he still has a little trust in me. If he doesn’t call… well, that might mean nothing, but it’s far more likely that he will have lost all faith in me. I know he says he can shoulder the responsibility, but the world is much too big for anyone to face alone.

To tell the honest truth… I’m scared.

I’m scared that he isn’t going to call, and I’m scared of losing him forever because of my clingy, excessive lack of faith in him and his abilities. If I could ask for one mercy in this world, it would be forgiveness. If he could forgive me for my attachment, then anything and everything he’s done to prove that he’s not who I think he is will be forgiven as well. I can’t be mad at him, after all, when I’ve done more than enough to force him into doing things he shouldn’t do.

One might judge me and say that I only want the phone to ring because I want to make the pain go away, and though that’s partially true… all I can think about is him, what might be happening to him, and whether or not he still trusts me enough to call. He may have said otherwise last time we spoke, but I still know he loves me, even if he doesn’t want to believe it.

I wonder if he wants to hate me. I wonder if he’s hurting enough inside to want to never see me again. For all I know, he could be trying to do just that – run and never look back, tossing me to the wind, forsaking my memory and my love for him. Anger, pain, and sadness can make us do terrible things, and though I could never think him to be the kind of person who would do something like that, I can’t really claim to know and understand him that well anymore.

If there is a bright side to any of this, it’s the fact that I still have enough trust in him to hold on to the hope that he’ll call. I surprise myself with knowing that, but we humans love surprises, don’t we? Especially when that surprise is finally coming to grips with the reality that the person you love may not love or trust you anymore. I’ll always be there for him, but I don’t know if he knows that, or even if he wants to, but I’ve put all my remaining faith into him. If he still knows me at all, if he still trusts me at all… he’ll know what to do when the time comes.

He has to know – oh, I hope he knows – that he can still count on me. Responsibility doesn’t mean you have to resist any and all reliance on someone. It’s so strange, how easily we forget that.

I have to hope that he hasn’t forgotten.

The phone rings.

It takes me a second to realize it, as I almost can’t believe it, but my hand is reaching for the phone before the second ring. My heart is exploding with a mixture of relief, apprehension, and quiet sadness. I both hate and love the fact that he’s called, but only time and patience will tell me what’s really going on – if he trusts me or if he doesn’t. However, the one thing I have no time for is making him wait. If he’s called, I won’t force him to endure the same suspense as myself.

I press the Talk button and hold the phone against my ear. I don’t even have time to say anything before I hear his voice.

“…Mom?”

My heart almost breaks. He sounds scared, nervous, lost, and hopeful all at the same time. My throat closes slightly as if it wants me to cry, but I won’t. It’s not my place, not now, not when he needs me the most.

“Mom, I… I did something stupid, can you… can you come get me?”

I want to cry in sadness and happiness, but instead, I manage a small smile. Even though he can’t see my face, I think he’ll know how happy I am to hear him, to know that he still trusts and needs me. I’ll always be here to help him. “Okay, honey, I’m coming, I’ll be there in fifteen minutes, I promise.”

I hear a cracked sigh over the phone. It’s tinny and indistinct, but I know what I’ve heard. It makes my heart ache to hear him cry, and I stand up immediately upon hearing it. He’s scared, and every mother hates it when her son is scared.

As I start walking towards the door, I hear him on the other end of the connection. “I didn’t… I wasn’t sure if I should call, I know what you’ve said about drinking – I’m sorry, Mom, I don’t know what was happening, it just happened!” I’ve never heard him sound so terrified, and it takes all my resolve to keep a calm head.

“It’s okay,” I say to him softly, soothingly. “I don’t care what you did or what happened, okay? Just wait for me, I’ll be there soon. We can talk about this later, but right now, I want you understand one thing.”

“…Yeah?”

I can’t help it. I won’t cry, not when he needs me, but I still let a single tear slip down my cheek as I reach for the car keys. Throwing a coat around my shoulders, I tell him gently, “Sweetheart, no matter what happens, you can always call me, and I’ll always come get you. No matter what, I’ll always be here when you need me, you understand?”

“…I understand, Mom.”

I nod to myself on reflex, closing and locking the door behind me. I only have to walk a few steps before I reach the car, but each step feels like it takes a lifetime. I can’t get to him fast enough. I know the party is only fifteen minutes away, but it’s still too far.

“Mom?”

I’ve only just gotten into the car. I can’t talk to him while I’m driving, but I pause to hear what he has to say. “Yes, sweetheart?”

“…Thanks.”

My heart doesn’t feel so heavy anymore, at least not for the same reasons having heard that whispered thanks. There are still things that need to be dealt with, problems to rectify, gaps of trust that need to be fixed, but I know now that we’re on the right track. Whatever happens now, I know that he still loves and trusts me enough to call when he needs help, and in the grand scheme of the world, that’s a remarkable achievement on his part.

“Sweetie, that’s what mothers are for. You can always ask me for help, and I’ll always be there.”

“Okay…”

He hangs up before I do. Though one connection has been severed, I know that another one, a much more important one, has been reinforced.

I grip the car keys with a newfound strength and turn the engine on. I won’t make my son wait for me any longer than he has to. It’s a strange world we live in. I don’t want to have to do this, I don’t want to have to help him deal with the consequences of drinking alcohol underage, and I don’t want to hear him cry. If none of that ever happened, it would be fine with me.

But he still trusts me. He still knows he can call me if he needs help, and I will always come get him. I may wish I didn’t have to drive with a fervor in my heart, but I would rather have to drive to pick him up than have to drive to find him gone.

Love and trust and car keys. That’s all it is. I have no reason to worry anymore. For all the hate and disappointment and mistrust in the world, my son and I got lucky. We still have that bond that so many other lack and long for. For what he’s done wrong, he can be forgiven.

It could be so much worse than this.

 

~

My mom is always reminding me and my sisters that, if and when we go out to parties in the future, we should always remember that we can call home to her and dad, if we get ourselves in trouble. They’ll come get us and help us out, since that’s what parents do.

When I had them read this little story, my mom actually ended up crying. Oddly enough, I am really, really proud of this fact. Turns out I can write emotions.

Then again, it’s my mom. She’s like that. Cares a lot about everything… even a few words in a fictional story.

Yep. Totally proud of writing this.

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