30 March 2012
Two is in Europe with his high school choir, singing in cathedrals in Vienna and Prague. I hugged him good-bye at the bus stop yesterday, texted him once before he boarded his plane, and will not hear from him again until he lands next Friday. There are two reasons for this: his phone will not work in Europe, and he wouldn't bother to text me anyway. He went to Florida a few years ago with a friend, and didn't communicate with us once. Finally, the Captain sent him a "call your mother, you idiot" text, and Two got mad that we yelled at him from a thousand miles away.
Ah, the bliss of ignorant self-absorption.
Pappou, who spends his life traveling the globe, kindly sent an Italian phone for Two to use in case of an emergency. Two didn't understand why he would need it.
"In case of an emergency. You know, if you get abducted or something. Like that Taylor Lautner movie."
"Mom, if I get abducted, I'm going to beat the crap out of someone and then run for my life. I won't be looking for the phone."
"But can you fight as well as the Twilight kid, Two?" the Captain asked. "Which one is he in the movies?'
"Jacob. He's a werewolf," I said. "Right. Can you fight as well as a werewolf, Two?"
Two looked at us like we were nuts, his expression not unlike the one I fix on him when he does something inexplicably bone-headed. My eyebrows have been raised in stupefaction for so long, I look like Nicole Kidman. Hmmm. Maybe I could rent out the teenagers as an alternative to plastic surgery. No. My astonished expression acts as a natural eye-lift, but I have to color my grey hair more often. It's a wash. Damn.
It took a year of saving and planning to get Two on the plane, but there were all sorts of last minute items to get this week. Like euros, which do not convert dollar for dollar, thank you. Since when does our financial situation seem more dire than Europe's? Next year we should go to Greece, where they're hard up for cash.
I had to drop off all of Two's luggage at the school the night before, so it could be searched for illegal items. Yesterday, he went to school with his wallet, his passport, his iPhone for music, and my voice in his ear.
"Be safe. Be aware of your surroundings. Put your dress shoes in your garment bag when you hang it up, or else you'll forget them for your concert. Have fun."
I drove home and allowed myself a moment to think all the bad thoughts: Lockerbie, the Madrid and London subway bombings, the bus crash in the Swiss tunnel. When I knew it was time for him to board the plane, I texted one last time.
"Love you too."
Someday, he'll appreciate how much we love him. For now, the return text is good.
Author's Addendum: I take it all back. On Sunday, April 1, Two called from Europe! He borrowed a friend's phone because he couldn't get the Italian phone to work (which will frustrate Pappou). We talked for about five minutes, and he sounded great. At the end, he said, "I love you and miss you. Tell everyone I said hi." I might actually be sad when he goes away to college.