The teen didn't come home last night. I slept through his missing - snoozed, snored, dreamed, tossed and turned in a glorious sleep until H came into the bedroom this morning with a cup of coffee and told me the teen was missing. I immediately got out of bed. Checked his room. H was right. The bed was unslept in. I went downstairs. Checked my middle son's room thinking that while he, middle son was in America that the teen might have decided on the memory foam mattress as a luxurious option to his creaky, single bed. No. No sign of the teen. I picked up my phone and called him. I heard his voice, hi Mom, he said. Where the hell are you, I asked in a voice that tried to sound irritated but failed as the relief kicked in. I'm at L's, he said, he made nachos and it got too late to come home and I texted K, (older brother) to tell you and I'm okay and goodnight. Goodnight? I said, it's nine a.m. for god's sake. Oh yeah, he said in a sleep-laden voice, sorry, he added and hung up.
Teen summers are great fun. You never see the teen for a start except at meal time and then depending on what's on the menu. Texts are numerous but scant;
What's for dinner?
Can you make extra chicken breasts?
Are we having steak?
Summer is great.
Big exams next year, better make the most of it!
And then there is the friend who just passed her driving test and drives Mom's jeep like a pro and pulls up outside the house to pick up the teen. His test is in two weeks time. He has the nerves he told me. He asked me to stop complaining about having to drive him places. He said he will be a failure if he doesn't pass. I tell him he's a good driver. He'll pass flying colours, he ought to, the lessons cost a small fortune but I don't say that and he shakes his head, glances at himself in the mirror, smooths his hair and takes off to join the rally driver waiting outside on the road. I want to shout after him, ask him if he has a key. If he remembered to floss. If he ever remembers the past summers. The walks off into the bog. The days at the beach as I watched him catch crabs and wet his toes without me for the first time in the incoming tide. How I put a hand to my brow to ease the startling light and how I never realised that I was trying to hold something back, something impossibly precious that was leaving me as quickly as it had come.