We Are On Our Way There (4)

4 years ago
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Continues from “We Are On Our Way There (3)”

In trying to remember that night, I’ve misplaced a bit of time. In not wanting to go back, I got ahead of myself.

At 1:57 a.m. I texted: Please respond… How many times have I written these words to her?

2:00 a.m. I closed my book, arose from the couch, and wandered out into the mudroom where I checked the front door and stared out a window into silhouettes of late April’s bare trees. Every branch was ready to bud. Had we not waited all winter for a night like this one? I understood her longing to be out in it, but not her willingness to give up on finishing the 11th grade for a single concert by a tribute band. Then it occurred to me: she could easily be at her ex-boyfriend’s. A few houses away. They could be walking one block over for all I knew. Or not.

I checked my cell phone. No response. I reopened my book and tried to read a few sentences then double-checked my phone to be sure the volume was up. Slowly, repeatedly, I read another sentence.

At 2:07, I received this: I’m at haley’s house

What I did not text back:

  1. Who is Haley?
  2. WTF? Uh…Who what where when why?
  3. Are you an alien from another planet and that’s why it’s still so hard—after all these years of pretending to be my human daughter—to comprehend the word “curfew”?

Her therapists had told me to remain firm if something like this happened at this critical point, and to remind her of the consequences she’d just agreed to—once again, everything Olivia said she wanted was at stake. And the line between her ability to manipulate and inability to control herself was invisible. This was it. If I caved, I’d utterly fail her. She needed limits. I felt trapped in the role of mother.

If you don’t come home you know what that will mean. We can’t proceed this way.

(2:07) Bouta sleep

That was her response. That was it. Once again, the joke was on me.

(2:07) What is the address? A slave to that thin slice of metal, I typed feverishly.

(2:12) Seriously! What town are you in? 

(2:15) Olivia this is it—your last chance

And it was. If she’d have just said she was on the way or asked for a ride home, our lives would have gone on in the direction we were all working so hard to go. When she finally woke late morning, she’d have faced a reasonable consequence for ignoring her curfew. Then, I would have made her a mug of hot Chai and gone back to work at my desk. Jo would have made her eggs and toast then headed out to the garden.

But then Liv went silent again. What did I do for those thirty minutes?

And why has it taken almost two months to describe fifteen minutes?


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