The Missing Person
She looked around uncertainly. The station was crowded, how was she supposed to find her daughter amongst the crowds. There were groups clustered together and others standing separately waiting for the next train.
Liz had agreed to meet her daughter there. It was always the same station, same time every week. Friday late afternoon was their agreement. Jessica always went home for the weekend and Liz was always looking forward to having the family together again. She, her husband, Mike and her two children, Pete and Jessica. During the week it was just her and Mike, rambling around in the big house much better suited to a family, but at weekends it rang with laughter as the family came together again.
Liz looked at her watch, tapping her foot with impatience, where was her daughter. She was stood under the clock, looking everywhere for any sign of the redhead that was Jessica.
Another train drew up and hordes of people emerged. Liz had a welcoming smile on her face sure her daughter would appear soon. The crowds dispersed as people got on and off and moved away but still, her daughter was nowhere to be seen. She started to panic and checked her phone for messages. Nothing from Jess. Liz didn't understand what was going on. Jess was usually so predictable and if she had missed a train, she would have sent a message.
Liz tried to think. She looked around, starting to get disorientated. Maybe she was on the wrong platform, which could be it. She would have to go to the next platform. Fortunately, this station only had two platforms so it would be easy to look for her beloved daughter.
The next platform proved to be the same thing, crowded but with no Jess. Liz, her mind racing, tried to decide what to do for the best. If she went back home what would happen if Jess were to arrive later, she wouldn't be there to meet her.
After much deliberation and in a complete panic she rang Mike to let him know there was a problem. He was always calm and collected unlike her; he would know what to do.
"Oh Mike, thank God, I can't find Jess, she hasn't turned up and I don't know what to do."
"Liz, it's all right. Take some deep breaths and tell me where you are and what's happened."
"What do you mean where am I? Isn't that obvious, I'm at the station waiting for Jess, but she hasn't turned up."
There was silence on the other end of the phone as Mike tried to think.
"Mike, Mike are you there?"
"I'm here love, I'm just trying to think."
"Just tell me what to do," Liz screeched.
People turned to stare at the sound and then started whispering amongst themselves. Liz was in too much of a state to care about the looks in her direction.
"Calm down, darling. I'm coming to get you, and then we'll have a chat. Everything's going to be fine."
Liz sighed. Mike was on his way, he would know what to do. She made her way to an empty bench and sat down to wait. She still looked around her periodically, hoping Jess would appear.
"Hello love," said Mike approaching Liz.
She jumped having not noticed him, lost in her own thoughts and worries.
"Come on, let's get you home, then I'll call the doctor."
"Doctor! I don't need a doctor, I'm fine. It's Jess that's missing."
She allowed Mike to take her by the hand and lead her away from the platforms towards the car. She kept looking behind her expecting Jessica to be following them.
In the car, Mike looked at her with a look of sadness on his face. He sighed, he had thought she was coming to terms with the truth of what had happened.
"Do you remember Jess being devastated when she failed her second-year exams at law school?" he asked.
"Of course I do but she passed on retaking them."
Mike shook his head, things were worse than he thought.
"No, she didn't, love. She couldn't cope with the thought of failure. Law had been the only thing she wanted to do since being very young. She killed herself two years ago. She took an overdose."
"Don't say such awful things. She wouldn't have done that. She passed and is still studying law."
Mike didn't know what to say. His wife was in denial that was obvious and she appeared to be having some sort of breakdown. He hadn't seen the signs. She had been fine when she left the house that afternoon saying she was going shopping. What had made her end up at the station?
They reached home in silence. Mike waited for the doctor to turn up, very worried about Liz who seemed very ill to him.
After chatting with them both, the doctor said he would make a referral to the mental health team for a thorough assessment. He would put it through as urgent. He thought Liz would be helped with medication and counselling.
Mike let him out hoping his Liz would recover soon.