Finally, I caved in, found courage, and made the birthday greetings call. When I asked N if he’d enjoyed his birthday surprise, he said, “What surprise?” Imagine my shock. The “surprise” was meant to arrive at 10.00 am and this was now 2 pm EST! Finally, he got around to telling me he knew T was coming, but the flight had been delayed for several hours and he’d be arriving 5.30 pm EST. The call ended abruptly as he had to leave for the airport.

A couple of hours later my cell phone rang. This was T, calling to tell me that one of the twin engines on the plane had caught fire and the pilot brought the plane into an emergency landing in Nebraska. Hence the delay. Luckily, the plane was able to land safely, everyone disembarked intact, and the fire department doused the engine fire, which had now spread to the wing, and luckily, the fire had not yet spread to the fuel tank. And here’s the classic: “I didn’t call to tell you because I didn’t want you to worry or FREAK OUT.”

Well, I’ll tell you what freaks me out: when you don’t tell me. That’s what I thought. What I said was, calmly, “oh, next time, just tell me. Your parents should know.”