Little Lost LambsPosted: February 20, 2016
Today I saw two lost children, an unusually high number. It doubles my total.
The first was a girl, about ten. She slowly exited the shoe store behind me, alone. She looked left and right, back and forth. No sense of urgency quickened her movements.
She chose to begin her search to the right. A few minutes later she passed back by, hand in hand with a security guard, still nonchalant.
They stopped at Best Buy and talked to an employee for a moment. It wasn’t long before a woman I assumed to be her mother arrived, walking purposefully and talking on her cellphone. She was noticeably irritated, but showed restraint until the security guard gave the girl a quick hug and went about her business elsewhere in the mall.
Once the uniformed authority figure was out of sight, however, the mother began to loudly berate her daughter, phone still at her face, clutching her child’s arm with fingers curved into painful claws, dragging the girl along behind her.
I saw no fear in the girl’s eyes, only resignation.
I recognized myself in those eyes.
The second was a boy, about seven years old. I saw him walking slowly by himself, and I hadn’t seen anyone with
whom he should have been in the last few clumps of consumers. As he neared, I watched his eyes widen and his panic rise.
When he was close enough, I asked him kindly if he was lost, already knowing the answer. He flinched and darted away like a feral cat. I let him go.
I looked around for his parents or security, but saw neither. I fixed his description in my mind for security or police, whoever I saw first, but his mother beat them both.
She clutched her blouse tightly over her breastbone, her eyes brimming with tears, and she moved as quickly as possible without breaking into a run.
I caught her and asked if she was looking for a boy in a yellow striped shirt. Her shaking voice said the words along with me, so I pointed her in the right direction and saw them embrace fifty feet from me.
I witnessed no screaming, only mutual joy at their reunion.
And I recognized my siblings.