Most bombs go off without a warning. There is no countdown. You don’t hear a burning fuse. There is no anonymous call to warn the innocent. There is just a loud bang and it’s over. If you pay close attention though, you can see the warning signs. Some are obvious. Some are not.
When Sunday afternoon turned into Sunday evening and Heather had still not returned home you became concerned. You did not feel any panic. You were just curious. You called her phone. It rang, but there was no answer. You left a message on her voicemail. You shrugged it off and began to make diner for yourself. Then while hunched over the sink a bolt of electricity shot down your spine and made you stand straight up.
You grabbed the phone and called again. This time it rang once and went to voicemail. She had declined your call. You immediately called back. This time it rang until you got the voicemail again. You were looking for her mother’s number when you got a call from Heather.
The first words out of your mouth were, “What’s going on?”
“What do you mean?” She replied in a hushed tone.
“I called three times.”
“I know. Mother is sleeping. I didn’t want to wake her.”
“Aren’t you coming home? You have work in the morning.”
“I took Monday off. I’ll be back tomorrow.”
“You didn’t tell me.”
This confused you. Heather never forgot anything and she never missed work. “Is everything alright?” It all sounded like a lie. You strained to listen for any noise in the background that would expose it as such.
“Yes, everything is fine.” She continued to speak in a soft voice. “I can’t really talk. I’ll be home soon. Love you.”
She rushed off before you could reply. You could feel your heart beat fast in your chest. None of this made sense. You sat at the table and stared at the phone in your hands. You wanted to call her mother. You wanted to make sure she was really asleep and Heather was really there.
If you were wrong Heather would think you didn’t trust her. Just thinking that she is betraying you is a breach of faith. Your mind wanted to go places you did not want to tread. You decided to believe her, but trust cannot be manufactured. You either have it or you ignore that it’s gone. You chose to be oblivious.
That didn’t help you sleep any better. You lied in bed listening to the ticking clock. The click-clack grew louder and louder. It drowned out the sounds in your head and you counted along, one, two, one, two, until the alarm rang.