It was against my better judgement. Really, it was.
The thing is, Sam had just been talking to me about how he really wanted to go fishing, and had only been once in the past 10 years. How could I say no when a friend from work called him up a few hours later to see if he wanted to go out on the boat with him? It would be nice, I thought. Even though it was my last full day with him before heading back to Wanganui, I liked the idea of relaxing with a book or some Grey’s Anatomy (judge not lest ye be judged, at least it’s not Shortland Street).
Because Sam hadn’t been fishing in about three thousand lightyears, he didn’t know how long he’d be.
“Probably a few hours,” he said with a shrug.
In reality, he left just before three on Saturday afternoon, and it wasn’t until 5am that I heard from him again.
At first I wasn’t worried. It started off as loneliness, followed by a period of wondering whether or not I should cook my own dinner or wait for him. When his flatmate came home though, he informed me it could take hours and hours, and probably not to expect Sam home until about 10 or 11pm. I was a little disappointed – after all, like I said, I was going home the next day and hadn’t had a full day since I got to Tauranga just to spend with him. I told myself that no matter how late Sam stayed out fishing, I wasn’t going to be annoyed with him, because I gave him my blessing and he’s been wanting to go for ages now.
By the end of the night (or the start of the morning if that’s how you want to look at it), I was well past the point of annoyed.
The problem, you see, wasn’t that he didn’t get home until the sun was nearly up. The problem was that he’d taken his phone, but I couldn’t get hold of him at all. I expected he’d be out of service, but I tried his number about midnight, just to see. It rang, so I knew it was in service. I called several times over the next five hours, and left him a text saying “my feelings towards you are currently less than favourable”.
I don’t want to sound like a clingy girlfriend who can’t stand to be away from her partner, but I was already feeling on edge because Sam’s father had texted me saying he was a little concerned Sam wasn’t home yet, and that he hoped he was safe. That, coupled with the fact that it was the middle of the night, made me start to imagine the worst.
The best case scenario, of course, was that he left his phone in his car before heading out on the boat. At three in the morning, though, my brain was telling me that the phone was safely stashed on the boat, while Sam drifted lifelessly in the water below. I kid you not, I briefly thought “if he goes missing and then find his body it’s going to be gross from being in the water and I’ll be even more traumatised.”
As it got later and later, or earlier and earlier, I thought they surely couldn’t still be out. I’m not proud of how much I was freaking out once 4am rolled about. I slept maybe an hour and a half that night, but my mind was too wide awake to really let me rest. I was constantly back and forth from the bed to the lounge, where I’d sit with the cat and gaze stalkerishly out the window.
I was pissed off. Sam was depriving me of the last night of cuddles I’d get for a week, and I was doubly annoyed that I could not sleep, but had a five hour road trip the next day. Also, he’d forced me to look like the psycho girlfriend by leaving a handful of messages and missed calls on his phone. And then, at about 20 to five, I got a text from Sam.
He’d left his phone in the car, and was on his way home now. Of course. Of course.
When he got home, had a shower, and climbed into bed, I lay there in silence.
“Are you mad at me?” He asked quietly.
“I’m not mad,” I said (thinking at the time that following up with ‘I’m just disappointed’ would have been the perfect way to portray a stereotypical mother).
It was true, sort of. I wasn’t mad at him. I understood why he didn’t take his phone, I understood why he took so long – I wouldn’t have wanted him to finally be invited fishing and then have to ask every five minutes when they were heading back – and I knew that he didn’t expect to leave me in the dark for so long. I was still mad, but simply as an after-effect from all the worrying.
Then he told me about how the first catch of the day had been a bird which somehow flew onto the hook, and I stopped feeling grouchy and started laughing. How stupid did that bird have to be? Also, Sam caught a stingray, so that was pretty interesting.
I think I worry too much.