“Have a good day!” I called to her as she got out of the car in front of the high school.
“Whatever,” was her response as she slammed the door and walked off.
I heaved a sigh and made my way to work. I figured this was one storm I was just going to have to ride. The divorce was difficult on everyone, and I wasn’t surprised that resentment and anger would get lashed at me from all the changes.
As the end of the work day approached I received an email alert from the high school saying that Hailey had been marked as absent in periods two, three, four, five and six. I got a phone call about one minute later from Janie saying that she had Macy with her, because there had been no one home when Macy had gotten off the bus that afternoon.
My stomach dropped. Where was Hailey?
After repeated texts and calls to Hailey’s cell phone with no response, I finally broke down and called her dad.
“Tim!” I cried when he finally answered on the sixteenth ring. “Tim! I don’t know where Hailey is! I took her to school, but the school says she was only there for the first period, and she isn’t at home!”
“Calm down, Amy,” Tim drawled impatiently. “Hailey’s here with me. She called me from school today saying that she wasn’t feeling well but you made her go to school anyway, so I went and picked her up.”
An immediate flood of relief rushed through me, followed closely by irritation and then fury.
“You’ve had her since this morning?” I said. “Why didn’t you call me? I’ve been worried sick!” It was just like him to not think about letting me know anything, just taking over and not worrying about the consequences in anyone else’s life.
“I figured you would be at work anyway,” he said. “I was going to call you.”
“Hmmm, okay.” I was fuming, and my voice began to escalate in pitch. “And what about Macy coming home to an empty house after school, with no one there to watch her? We are lucky that we have good neighbors who took her in. You didn’t think about that, did you?”
“Well, no, I forgot about that….”
“Of course you did,” I muttered. “Can I please speak to Hailey?”
There was a muffled sound as Tim covered the telephone and called to Hailey. I wasn’t able to hear the response.
“Umm, how about Hailey just stays here for a few days?” he asked. “She doesn’t really want to talk right now.”
I was stunned.
“Can you please ask her again to speak with me for just a moment?” I finally let out in a small, hurt voice.
“Okay, I’ll try,” Tim muttered.
Finally Hailey’s voice came on the other end of the phone. “Hello?”
“Hailey!” I said in as cheerful a voice as I could. “I’m glad you’re okay!” There was no response from her so I continued tentatively. “So, you want to stay with your dad for a few days?”
“Yeah,” she said.
“Umm, okay. I will bring by a bag of clothes for you tonight.”
There was silence on the other end of the line. Finally, when the pause was drawn out to an awkward length Hailey interjected, “Hey, Mom.”
“Yes?” I asked hopefully.
“Don’t forget my makeup bag from the bathroom, okay? And my flat iron.”
My heart sank.
“Okay, sweetie, I won’t forget.” Another pause. “Are you sure you don’t want to come home?”
“I’m sure, Mom.”
“Okay, I love you.” I waited for her to respond the same, but only got silence blaring deafeningly into my ear.
Finally Tim was back on the line.
“So you will bring her things over tonight?” he asked briskly.
“Yes,” I said, unsure of anything else to say. Where there was once an abundance of life and love shared between us, now there was only an empty silence. How had our lives come to this? Not only was our relationship as a couple in shambles, it seemed like my entire family was falling apart. I wanted the girls to still have a solid relationship with their father, but it was so difficult to keep my anger at him in check when I talked about their father.
Maybe it would be good for Hailey to have a break from me. Maybe if she spent some time with her dad it would help her to see how the separation was necessary. Maybe if she spent some time with his girlfriend, Pam, she would see what a slime he turned out to be on her own.
I didn’t want Hailey to think that her dad was a slime, but I sure didn’t want her thinking that the entire disruption of our lives came from me. I tried not to think too much about Pam.
We said our goodbyes and I had to return back to finish my day at work. Patients were waiting on me, and my boss was asking where I was.
Check back tomorrow to see how Amy deals with this latest trial in her life.