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Hide and Seek
It was almost 6 yrs. ago when I had the biggest scare of my life. On that crisp June day we finally were ready to settle into our new home. Some say hide and seek is the first game you might play as a toddler; not counting peek-a-boo. But on that day, I had a scare that it was my brother’s last.
Swish! The door swung open to a cute little cape in Fairfield, Connecticut, now our home. Moving from Springboro, Ohio with my Parents and two younger brothers was not an easy trip. I held the longing of escaping that car for three days, now we finally arrived.
“Here she is!” My Dad shouted with affection. Immediately I raced into the house with my younger brother Mike, 4, just 18 months younger than I. As young children a new home meant new places to explore and hiding spots to discover. Before I could close my eyes and count to 100 a familiar voice shouted.
“Uncle Tom!” We shouted in sync. Uncle Tom, our favorite Uncle was basically a 6 ft. 4 kid. He may be 35 and married but he was truly a kid. Of course he played hide and seek with us and volunteered to count. As he began, me and Mike raced into action. Right away I found beige colored curtains, left behind by the old folks who moved out. I slipped behind and hid like a stowaway on a ship.
After a few minutes of being smothered by musty curtains my spot was revealed, not to my surprise, Mike remained unfound. Ever since he could walk he was great at hiding; fitting into all sorts of tiny spaces and claustrophobic spots. So my Uncle and I set off to seek him. And to our surprise we got nowhere. We searched for a while. An hour past without any luck. Uncle Tom and I had searched every corner, all closets, cabinets and pantries. He still did not resurface. Knowing Mike he wouldn’t reveal until found, but in the back of my head I had sudden surge of fright. There were no tables, nor beds, couches, or blankets to slip under. Closets and cabinets were really all there was to rely on.
My mind convinced me that my worrying was unnecessary.
“Gee, he’s gotta good spot.” I said
“You betcha.” Uncle Tom responded.
The searching encored for another half hour. Now we worried. I thought shouting his name would call quits and pronounce him winner.
“Mike? Come out Mike. You won…..I lost. MIKE?” I repeated myself.
I shouted trudging up and down staircases and down and back hallways. Maybe he was just fooling around or holding an urge to be found. My Uncle Tom looked frantic. We drove ourselves in circles, searching like mad men. It was now that it finally occurred to me that we lost my baby brother.
Slamming the front door shut, I analyzed the yard. Scanning, to make sure he didn’t cheat and make a joke out of hiding outside. It was if he banished off the face of the earth. Sweat slid down my forehead, in fear of my brother disappearing out of existence. My mind spun back to last week’s article in the paper about two six year-old girls playing hide and seek. They stowed away in a trunk of their neighbor’s car sealing it shut. For days they were missing until the neighbor lifted the hood only to find two dead bodies. My shoulders shuddered, as my mind resurfaced.
“Caroline! I’m stressing out! What if Mike suffocated somewhere and he’s trapped!” Uncle Tom shrieked.
It was in a panic tone. That voice still runs my mind today, thinking back to that horrible experience. My heart picked up its pace as it dawned on me that my parents will return in the midst of minutes, knowing the news.
“Caroline there’s two closets on the second floor we missed!” He shouted with hope.
I sped after him at his heels, heading up the stairs two at a time. We raced into the bedroom gripping the door knob of the first closet. Nothing. We immediately raced to the other bedroom to swing the door open, only to find another dark, empty, closet. My uncle started down the stairs; yelling his name for the hundredth time, still with no response. I looked into the dark closet. A rather large closet that extended far back. I crawled through helplessly, in hope of missing a corner. It was then when I heard the pounding.
“Mike? Are you here? Mike!” I shrieked.
I slid around the closet, moving towards where the sound was coming from until I came across a tiny door. I could faintly see it in the dark realizing it was almost like an entrance leading to somewhere. I gripped the knob, my heart thumping out of my chest. I prayed in complete darkness that this door would lead to my brother. Silence. I took a deep breath. Then, I turned the knob and pried it open. To my relief a voice called, “Caroline?” In a whisper tone.
“MIKE!!!” I squealed.
I crawled through to the low ceiling room. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to light his glowing face. Suddenly he squealed,
“Look Caroline! It’s a secret hideout!”
Surely it was, a hidden room in our soon to be parent’s closet.
Dashing down the steps, we joined Uncle Tom to play outside on that crisp June day.