Panic

The phone kept ringing. “Come on, pick up.” Tyler fumbled with his apartment keys, but his Dad wasn’t picking up. It was a pretty unreasonable hour to make a call to Berlin, but Tyler had to know.

Tyler had heard the news during class, shocking him out of the afternoon stupor. His professor started the lesson with a discussion about reports pouring in about a German plane that had crashed into the Alps. Planes don’t crash themselves, people said. The class began to speculate, and speculation is never good for a person’s brain when family is concerned.

A prerecorded message played in Tyler’s ear as the door clicked open: “Hi, this is Mike Stillwell. I’m unable-” Tyler hung up, tossing his phone on the couch and reached into the fridge for a Miller Lite. They hadn’t talked in a couple weeks. Tyler had meant to call him, but between presentations, tests, and clubs it just hadn’t happened. The aluminum can popped open, and he downed half of it in three gulps.

He picked up his phone, trolling Facebook and Twitter for the newest stories. He put his shaking hand in his pocket. CNN and the Associated Press both claimed they had evidence the copilot had crashed the plane. Who would do something like that? Why?

The last thing Tyler remembered saying to his Dad was something about a birthday present for his sister. That was how most of those calls went. Never too significant, just catching up sort of stuff. Tyler hadn’t told him about the guy he had been talking about marriage with or the summer internship he had landed with Deloitte in New York. What if he never could?

His phone buzzed. An email from his Dad popped up at the top of the screen: Caught in traffic, missed my flight. Stuck here one more day.

Tyler let out a sigh, then started laughing to himself. He took another sip of his beer and simply responded: Glad to hear it. Let’s talk tomorrow, there’s been a lot going on.

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