It’s past 6.30 p.m. Sam should be home by now, but he hasn’t called me yet. He’s probably taking a shower or eating supper.
It’s 7 p.m. and Sam still hasn’t called. I look at the screen on my phone and the picture of me and Sam, lying down on a picnic blanket, stares back at me. He is probably busy with some homework. I shouldn’t worry. I always prided myself for not being a controlling girlfriend, but who am I kidding, I want to know where he is and why he hasn’t called me yet. He usually calls when something comes up. And we had plans. Why would he invite me over if he had prior engagements? No, something is up.
I dial his number but there’s no answer. I let it ring until the voicemail is activated. I decide not to leave a message but try again.
By the sixth or seventh time I’m already panicking.
Maybe his truck broke down or something, but he would have answered his phone then. Maybe Kunal kept them longer at practice. I mean, Alex isn’t home yet. I decide to try calling my brother. It rings twice and then he picks up. I hear him laugh and then answer.
“Hey, Bee. What’s up?” he asks.
“Where’s Sam?” I ask directly, not caring for politeness or anything.
“I don’t know. Home, maybe.”
“When did he leave?”
“Right after practice,” Alex answers and I feel myself getting angrier and more panicked by the minute.
“Which was when?” I ask forceful.
“Calm down. Uhm, at least an hour ago.”
“What?” I ask. At this point I put on my shoes and hurry over to Sam’s. I knock on the door but there is no answer. His truck isn’t here either. What the hell is going on?
“Bee, you still there?”
“Yeah,” I say with a sigh and run my free hand through my hair.
“You okay?” he asks. No, I’m having a panic attack.
“I don’t know. I can’t reach Sam. We were supposed to see each other right after his soccer practice but he hasn’t called me yet and he doesn’t answer his phone either. I’m worried.”
“Calm down, sis. I’ll be right home,” Alex says alerted. I hang up and try a few more times to reach Sam but he still doesn’t pick up. Where are you, baby?
I know his parents are at Rose’s recital, but maybe they wanted him to go there too and he couldn’t talk his way out and is now stuck there and I freak out over nothing. I dial Melinda’s number and wait for her to pick up. It rings several times and I almost give up when I hear her answer.
“Hello?” she asks whispering.
“Mrs. Anderson, it’s me Bobbi. Is Sam with you?” I ask her without any kind of excuses or meaningless chit-chat.
“No. He had soccer practice and told me he wouldn’t be able to make it to the recital. He should be at home,” she says, but I can sense that I worried her. I hope everything is alright with him.
“Sam’s not home. The truck isn’t here and he doesn’t answer his phone. I’m really worried,” I say and feel tears streaming down my cheeks. I can’t hold it in anymore. I fall down to my knees and sob uncontrollably. Something is wrong. I can feel it. He would never let me wait this long without calling or texting me. He would let me know that he is fine.
I hear Melinda talk, shout even but I can’t understand anything. It is like she’s a million miles away and only the wind carries her words so that I can acknowledge their existence, but not their meaning. I hear a car and instantly look up.
“Sam,” I whisper. But it isn’t him. It’s my brother’s car. It’s Alex.
“Bobbi,” he says panicked, his face is pale, he is covered in sweat, but not from training, I can smell his shower gel on him. He is nervous. He looks me in the eyes and I can’t figure out what I see: pity, fear, shock.
“What do you know?” I ask emphasizing each word as if he wouldn’t understand me otherwise.
“Bobbi, I,” he says and stops. He opens and closes his mouth several times but nothing comes out.
“Damn it, speak!” I yell and startle him.
“Bee, Sam had an accident,” he says and from that moment on I’m paralyzed.