i was a sheltered child. i wasn’t allowed to play outside much, i didn’t understand why then but now i do. i had a tendency to go off on my own. as a child i was a dreamer, wandering around aimlessly. or i would sit quietly in a corner, tucked behind a bush, out of sight. even then i drifted, preferring to be alone.
i remember one afternoon sitting on the front stoop of our apartment building, waiting for my grandmother to come home from work. my grandfather was in the apartment preparing an afternoon snack. my job was to greet gma. but somehow, i blinked and the pretty lady next building over was speaking to me. she invited me to her home to play boardgames and she knew my grandfather, they talked often, they were from the same village in vietnam, she’s like an aunt to me, it’s ok for me to follow her home. i went without thought, without hesitation.
i blinked again and this time i find myself gnawing on a corn on a cob. i’m being careful to not slobber all over the table, after all, it’s not my home, i’m a guest. there’s a board game spread out on the coffee table, Scrabble, but i don’t know how to read, i just like touching the tiles. and i can see that the lady’s attention to me is waning, and my stomach is beginning to hurt and i wonder where my grandparents are and why they’re not there with me. i can’t remember how i got to the lady’s apartment, of climbing the stairs to her door, or even how this damn corn on a cob ended up in my hand.
more rapid blinking, only this time it’s to hold back the tears. i don’t remember anything, i don’t think i remember how to get home or if home is even near by. the lady is getting impatient with me, making me clean up after myself, tho i don’t think i’ve made much of a mess. i’m concerned that she’s going to tell on me to my grandparents that i was a bad guest, that i cried like a baby.
the amount of blinking at this point is high speed, i’ve reverted to stuttering again, a habit i’d recently grown out of. the next thing i know, i’m in my uncle nick’s arms and he’s carrying me across the crowded apartment yard, neighbors milling around and holy shit, COPS standing next to my grandparents and is that really peter there?
i didn’t know that i was missing, that i was missed. in fact, i forgot about that. i only remembered that i was found.