Everything was packed and ready to go the night before. Backpack filled with snacks, change of clothes, headphones, and cell phone charger – the only things a teenager needs for an overnight school field trip.
The alarm blasted through the house for five minutes before Brandon groggily stumbled out of bed to turn it off. It had to be across the room or else he would ignore it and go back to sleep. His parents rushed around the kitchen, preparing work lunches and a last minute bag of snacks to hold Brandon over until he got home the following evening.
Brandon looked at his mother and shook his head. She always made such a big deal about everything. It didn’t matter to him if he had snacks or not. His friends would always give him something.
“Hurry up,” she said, after his father left for work. “We have to get you to school for the bus!”
“It’s too early!” Brandon complained, fighting to get his jacket on. “Why’d you have to get me up so early.”
She paused and looked at the time. “You’re always going to school at this time.”
“So, get ready!”
“Ugh! Fine! I don’t know why you make –”
“You are the one who signed up for the before school class! Not me! Car! Now!”
Even though his mother was quite smart, she often forgot how to speak complete sentences when she was losing her patience with him. Brandon looked at her and sighed. Three more years and he wouldn’t have to put up with her anymore.
“Now, you have everything?” she asked as he opened the car door at his school.
“Yes, mother. Stop! Geeze! Why are you do dramatic?” He got out and slammed the door.
She rolled down the passenger window and called out, “text me when you stop for lunch.”
She waited for a response that she knew would never come. As he walked away, she couldn’t help wonder what happened to the little boy that never wanted to leave her side. She sighed. Mothers never know what they have when they are busy wiping food puree off the walls or debating over the need to take a bath.
Three hours later, she sat on the couch and sighed. His room was finally cleaned and didn’t smell like a safari campsite anymore. How could one boy make a room that stinky was beyond her. She looked at the time on her phone and tutted. She knew he wouldn’t text her at lunch. She texted him instead.
“How’s the trip so far?”
“That’s good. Are you getting lunch?”
“Well, at least you like their fries :)”
“You’ll have fun. Are others having fun?”
“Why? What happened?”
“OMG! A student? Are they okay?”
“Yeah it was a student”
“Are they okay?”
“No? What do you mean no?”
“WHAT! WTF! WHAT! WHEN!”
“Just now They were laughing with their friends and choked”
“WHAT! CALL ME!”
“What do you mean sorry?”
“For what? CALL ME!”
“It was me”
“What was you? What are you talking about? Call me RIGHT NOW!”
“Can’t It was me”
“What do you mean it was you? Brandon? What’s wrong?”
“You were a great mother Sorry about everything I love you”
“WHY DIDN’T YOU ANSWER YOUR PHONE!”
“Can’t It was me I died I choked I”
His mother’s phone rang but went to voicemail before she could answer it. The display read Harvey County Public High School.