The inner workings of a broken mind

2 May

Or… what I think about when I’m left alone for more than three days.

The Boy is in Kenya. Rural Kenya. A place we’ve been together a number of times. A place I’m not afraid of.

Except, you know, when I’m not there and it happens to be 2 o’clock in the morning and no matter how many times I try calling I can’t make a connection. I don’t know how many times I called but it was enough to make me realise I’m going to be one those mothers who will not be able to sleep until every child is tucked safely into bed. Even when they’re 40.

Anyway, last night played out something like this.

10pm: Went to bed. Knew that The Boy was leaving the village and hoped he would make his flight before the rains hit. Felt safe and reassured that he would be on his way home soon.

Midnight: Woke up and realised that The Boy may get caught on the roads in the rain. This would be bad. The car could slip off the side of the road and I wouldn’t even know. Resolve to not panic until I could check Kenya’s morning paper for potential fatalities.

2am: Send The Boy a text message to see if he made it or not. Get no reply. Start to panic because he really should be in Nairobi now. He’s either had a car accident, been involved in an airplane disaster, or has been mugged by corrupt police. Try to remain calm. Perhaps the text message just didn’t reach him?

2:08am: Determine that the text message did not, in fact, reach him. Try calling. No service. Try calling his Australian number. No service. Try to not to picture his mangled body.

2:14am: Figure six minutes is enough of a gap to try calling again. Call goes through. No answer. Wonder why he isn’t picking up. Get angry at him because for all he knows I could be in labour! Think to myself he is totally going to regret not picking up if I really am in labour.

2:16am: Start thinking about labour. Stomach tightens. Download a contraction timer app.

2:30am: Feel Pork Chop wiggle. Determine I’m not in labour. Start thinking about the need to put rubber sheets on the bed though because it would totally suck to ruin the new mattress with an amniotic fluid tidal wave.

3am: Try calling again. No answer. Attempt to reassure myself that between the crap coverage I get from Optus while in the house, combined with a somewhat dodgy international phone service, The Boy probably just isn’t getting any of my text messages or missed calls. Try to get some sleep.

4am: Wake up and check phone. Still no messages. Convince myself that The Boy has met some unfortunate end. Wonder what I’m going to do as a single mother. Probably sell the house because I won’t be able to afford the mortgage. Rent somewhere cheap, a small apartment maybe. Try not to think about living in my mother’s spare bedroom. Picture me and Henry sitting on the floor of a linoleum tiled kitchen eating cans of baked beans. Panic.

4:15am: Realise that I’m totally capable of being a single mother if left with no other choice. Start dreaming about working from bedsit apartment, making up fairy tales and freelancing to scrape by.

4:16am: Realise I probably wouldn’t be able to afford internet. Reach for blood pressure cuff because surely all this worry is going to kill me. Blood pressure is reassuringly normal. Too normal, perhaps?

5:09am: Wake up to a text from The Boy. He has arrived in Nairobi. Hurrah! Fall back asleep knowing that all is well in my world.

5:45am: Wake up. Have somehow convinced myself that the text was actually sent by The Boy’s murderer (he must have been mugged after all) to throw me off the trail so I don’t report him as missing in the morning. Very clever.

6am: Alarm goes off. Sun is coming up. Realise that it probably was The Boy texting last night, not some mysterious mugger. Quickly scan the newspapers just in case.

And this is the shit I don’t tell my counsellor because I’m fairly sure if I did, child protection services would be waiting for me in the delivery suite.

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