May 21, 2017

The grass was freshly cut on this perfect July day. I was 7 years old at the time, staring up at the light blue sky filled with white puffy clouds that looked like cotton balls. The temperature of the lake was not too cold, and the Michigan breeze soared through the sky like an airplane.  Our dogs were grazing in the sun, half asleep, while the wind blew through their fur. The frogs were jumping through the crunchy leaves, and the birds sang their song from above. I layed on the hammock outside, squinting my eyes at the sun and feeling it warm my face. I noticed all these things around me. The birds kept singing, the dogs kept sleeping, and I kept laying. I was waiting for the call that never came. Rocking back and forth on the hammock, I  was waiting. It seemed too quiet for a normal day at the lake. There were no other kids playing, adults weren’t laughing and talking, and even the dogs weren’t barking. It didn’t hit me for a little while. I just stayed there in the sun relaxing and waiting. Eventually I became nervous. And that’s when I realized it.  I was alone.

My Aunt has three boys and no girls. She is not used to having little girls running around the house, and only sees it during the summer when we go to the lake. My sister and I are the only girl cousins, so we usually stick together at family parties. Coming from a family of mostly boys, running around, being noisy, fighting and tackling each other, my sister and I kind of stay in the background. That’s how it usually is at family events. The two little girls by themselves, exploring the woods, playing in the sand, singing in the bunkhouse, and most of all, staying away from the annoying boy cousins. On this particular day, we were separated, and we all wish that we weren’t.

I was 7 years old. My sister went to town with my parents and Uncle, so they could get ice cream. I had been playing in the lake and decided to stay back a little while.

“Don’t worry Sue,” my Aunt said to my mom, “I will bring Lizzie and the boys up to the ice cream shop in half an hour.”

“Great,” I thought to myself. “This means I’ll have time to play before we go.”

So there I was. Sitting on the hammock, listening to the birds and watching the clouds. The breeze on my face and sun squinting my eyes. I listened to the quietness of the usually noisy house and realized that I really was alone.

Panic shot through my whole body. I felt as if the wind had just pushed me over and I was unable to get up. I searched the whole house, running, and calling everyone's names, just hoping I’d get a response. Silence. I was alone. I ran outside and stood on the deck. I had a decision to make. There was a neighbor who lived not too far down the road, or a telephone in the house that I could use. Any normal person would go straight to the phone and call their parents. Except that I was too scared to go in the house alone, which is why I sprinted right out to the deck once I realized I was the only one in the house.

I thought to myself, “it will all be over if I just run inside and grab the phone.”

I tried to move, but my feet were glued to the floor. There was no way I was going inside that house. I considered the neighbors house, except we didn’t know them and I did not think walking to a stranger's house was the right thing to do. I did what any normal terrified kid would do, and I walked over to the strangers house.
I remember walking up the road, nervous, and wishing that I had decided to stay with my sister. I wouldn’t be alone or scared if I had gone with my parents. I approached the strangers house, my hands shaking, and knocked on the door. No answer. Pain hit me again, but harder this time. I knocked again a little bit louder, hoping someone had not heard me the first time. To my luck, the door creaked open and an older woman poked her head outside. She asked me what I was doing out here by myself. Relieved that the stranger was nice, I told her the whole story about how my family had forgotten me at the house, and how I was too scared to go inside and get the phone alone. She called my mom for me and told me that she was on the way.

I was greeted by my whole family showing up to this stranger's home. My uncle, aunt, mom, dad, brother, sister, and cousins, came running from the car over to me. My aunt apologized over and over again, telling me how glad she was that I had went to the neighbors, and how sorry she was for forgetting me at the lake house that day. It will be something I will never forget, especially the amount of chocolate ice cream they gave me when we returned home.

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