It was Sunday. I was slumping around lazily on the couch at home, snacking on junk food. Elementary school had just let out, and I was glad to be free from the grasps of kindergarten. I felt so relaxed, just sitting there minding my own business when my mom burst into the bubble of space I inhabited.
“Would you like to go to the mall with me?” Mom asked, “I’d like to do a little shopping.”
“YEAH!” I cried out at the sound of it. The mall was my favorite place in the WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD (next to my own house, obviously.)
“Great! Then we’ll leave right away.” Mom said as she grabbed her purse and car keys, and the two of us headed for the car. I bolted up out of the couch and dashed after her.
The drive was long and tiresome. I absolutely couldn’t wait until until we got there. I sprang out of the car as soon as my mom had parked it, in the same manner a wild animal would run free of its cage. I immediately headed for the mall entrance without looking back. Stepping foot inside the shopping mall, I deeply inhaled the aroma of food, satisfied.
“Now don’t just run off like that!” My mom’s sharp voice cut into my fragrance-heaven like ice. “I’d like for you to stay close by me at all times. I don’t want you taken from me!”
“Fine,” I grumbled. My energy level just dropped.
“Let’s go to Nordstrom first.” she watched me closely. I’d expected her to walk ahead, lead the way. Instead, she just stood in place and glared at me.
“Go ahead. I want you in my line of vision.” I slowly scooted forward without another word. The two of us were there in no time.
As we marched slowly store after store, I began to fatigue from boredom, and felt like going back home although we’d only been in the mall for a little bit more than an hour. Occasionally, when I was plain bored of sticking to my mom (who would be looking at clothes and other household appliances), I would wander off on my own. My mom would call me back. This time’s mall trip didn’t seem at all as exciting as I thought it would be.
“We’re going to Macy’s now!”
“Oh, boy, I’m so excited,” I said unenthusiastically.
Entering the store, my mom speed walked to the clearance section to see if she could get any good deals. My thoughts clouded my head, suggesting all the better things I could possibly be doing at the moment, like watching movies or eating ice cream at home. For a few second’s time I stood there, wishing I’d never wished to come along with my mom.
When I finally came to my senses, I blinked and looked hazily around me. Then my eyes became intent. I could feel myself paling as I let out a tiny exclamation. My mom had vanished! And she was the one who had told her 6-year-old not to go off on her own! I was pretty annoyed at this point. Annoyed and alone, that’s what I was! I made the decision right then to toughen up and find her on my own. Yes, I could do this! I jogged past all the aisles, skimming them in hope that I would find her. I even drifted through all the nearby sections of the store until I could drift no more. There was absolutely NO sign of her! I felt seed of panic in my chest slowly budding into a flower. I pressed that feeling down and kept searching. She was absolutely nowhere to be found.
I decided to move on to Plan B. I would really have to get a little assistance.
I caught sight of a lady with red hair and glasses. She seemed friendly and gentle-natured, so I went up to her. I heard echoes of my mother’s “do not talk to strangers” warnings, but like the child I was, I ignored them entirely.
“Hello,” I said, addressing the woman.
“Hi!” she responded instantly. Then she just looked at me, some random child all by herself. “Are you lost?”
“As a matter of fact, yes,” I replied. “I need some help. May I borrow your phone? I need to call my mom.”
I knew at once I had chosen the right person.
“Of course, sweetie,” she said as she pulled out her cell. She handed it to me, and I dialed as quickly as I could. My fingers flew over the keypad, punching in the numbers. I had already memorized Mom’s number by heart. I prayed for for her to pick up. I waited and waited. A few seconds creeped by that felt like minutes. I was starting to feel uneasy about this, because my Mom had always chosen not to pick up unknown numbers on a regular basis. No, she will pick up, I told myself on the inside. Rrrrrrring. Rrrrrrring.
Please, just hurry up!
“Your call has been forwarded to a voice message, ” the steely, robotic voice stated.
NOOOOOO! I was screaming on the inside. These were the exact words I dreaded to hear. I guess the lady could tell by the horrified expression on my face that the call was unsuccessful. Slowly, I handed her the phone. I was rooted to the spot, not knowing whatever in the world I was supposed to do.
“I’m going to get some help right this instant! Stick by my side.” With that, the woman lead me to the service desk which was now directly across from where I was standing. Still feeling quite stiff, I followed. As we walked, she looked at me. In a comforting tone of voice, she said:
“Don’t you worry, sweetie. We’ll get you to your mom in no time.” I shrugged, not entirely convinced.
We were just about to reach the desk, when I felt something brush across my shoulder. At first, I thought it was a piece of clothing hanging loose from a rack. But I felt it again, a slight tug of the sleeve. A cold hand gripped me fiercely by the arm, pulling me back. I let out a piercing scream, and spun around almost simultaneously.
“Mom!” I cried, a wave of relief rushing over me. I definitely had enough shocks for one day. She pulled me into a hug which felt awkward yet comforting at the same time.
“I told you not to go off by yourself! And yet you disobey me once more!” She was yelling. She also said many other things to scold me, but I wasn't paying attention. My mom was only letting her truckload of tension out. When she was done, she thanked the lady so many times it made my head spin. Afterwards, her mood completely changed into “so glad to see you!” She might've whipped off a mask right then!
“Let’s get some ice cream, shall we?” She turned to face me, waiting for my response.
It was as if nothing happened at all. I put on a smile, and nodded vigorously.