Hi. My name is Molly. I’m a 6 year old girl. I like the colour purple, swimming in my pool and unicorns. I have yellow hair that curl around my face. And I don’t talk. It’s not that I don’t understand words. I know what everyone is saying to me. I just get REALLY scared when I have to talk. I’m not sure I know how to make the sounds. I think they will come out all messed up and everyone will laugh. My mouth and tongue just don’t want to make the movements.
I love my mom and dad. They sometimes look at me with great worry. I don’t want to worry them. So when they told me we are going to a BIG fair with candy apples and games where I could win a unicorn, big fluffy sparkly tailed unicorns, I smiled and danced for them. I didn’t want them to know I was nervous. I’m old enough to know that kids and their parents give me weird looks when I don’t reply to their questions.
So when the time came, I put on my Paw Patrol runners and a jacket because mom said it was chilly outside. I double checked I had my bracelet on my wrist. It was a bracelet my mom gave me on my first day of school. It’s a leather band with a few small purple beads, and an unicorn charm that glitters in the sun. She told me when I get scared to just look down at my bracelet and remember that when I get to go home and see her she will hold and rock me back and forth until I felt better. I never leave home without it. When we went outside, I’m glad I wore my jacket, the wind made my eyes water. I got to watch a movie on the drive down. I chose Sofia the First. She is my favourite princess. The fair was in the big city, and we hit traffic. It was a long drive.
When we got there, I stretched and zipped up my jacket. My dad paid for us at the gate and I got a red smiley stamp put on my hand. The lady smiled kindly at me, and I smiled back shyly, feeling the gap from my one front tooth that fell out last week. I grabbed my mom’s hand because as we approached the hustle and bustle, I suddenly felt very small.
We checked out all these really cool animal displays. I learned all about snakes and how they shed their skins. I pressed my nose right up against the glass, no longer feeling small, watching the snake curled up, dreaming about crickets I imagined. We looked at statues carved out of butter. We ate cotton candy and hot dogs on a stick. As the sun lowered behind the clouds, the sky turned pink and red. I loved sunsets. But I loved all the lights on the rides and games more.
We went on so many rides! I forgot all about my worries from earlier. I didn’t have to talk much at all. It wasn’t until after my 6th ride that I noticed. My bracelet. It wasn’t on my wrist anymore. I began to panic. I looked around my feet, Skye looking up at me from my shoes, but no sign of my bracelet. I started running back to the last ride. I got lost among all the legs and bodies. I couldn’t see anything, I couldn’t remember how to get back to the ride, I couldn’t even remember what ride it was. All of sudden the lights I enjoyed so much earlier were too bright, and the sounds of kids laughing, the rides whirling, was too much. I reached for my mom’s hand, but she just like my bracelet, wasn’t there. Neither was my dad.
I felt like screaming. I felt like my heart was exploding. I felt my stomach toss and turn, those hot dogs flipping inside me. My head was spinning. My eyes couldn’t zero in on anything. I couldn’t think. I just dropped to the pavement, I hugged my knees as tight as I could, I rested my head, face down. Closed my eyes and tried to focus on my breath. But all I could hear was my blood pumping into my ears. It was too loud. I couldn’t take it. I was lost. I didn’t have my bracelet. I didn’t have my parents. All I had was this red smiley stamp on my hand. I began to scratch the smiley off, but my nails weren’t long enough, mom had cut them just yesterday.
A lady, about my mom’s age was watching me scratch at my hand and said “here sweetie, use this” and she took a tissue from her purse, poured some water from her bottle onto the tissue and passed it to me. I looked up at her, tears in my eyes. She said “oh sweetie, what’s wrong? are you lost?” I said nothing, just nodded my head. She kept asking me questions, what was my name, what were my parents names, where were they last. I just looked at her, the tears slowly running out the corner of my eyes. They blurred my vision, which was a bit of a relief, it made the lights less scary.
She tried to get me to stand up, but I stayed put. Arms tight around my knees. The heat from my heart and blood were making me want to take my jacket off. But that would mean I would have to stand up. And I didn’t want to. I wanted my bracelet. I wanted my mom. I wanted my unicorn pillow and blanket at home. I wanted to see my dog. I thought I would never see him again. I was certain the police come here and take me somewhere far, far away from my home.
The tears came faster and bigger now. I thought I heard someone say my name. But the blood in my ears was too loud.
Next thing I knew, someone had their arms around me. I wanted to run from their grasp, but when I felt them slip my bracelet back on my wrist, the blood quieted, and the lights were less intense. I blinked a couple times, getting rid of the watery vision and I realized I recognized the voice talking to me. It was my mom. She was telling me how much she loved me, as she stroked my hair, and that she was sorry she couldn’t find me after I ran looking for my bracelet.
I rubbed the beads on my bracelet, counting to make sure all four were there and the unicorn was still intact. I buried my head into my mom’s arms. I wanted to go home, I wanted my bed. I felt so tired; so tired that I didn’t even notice my mouth open and tongue moving slightly. A small “hi” escaped from my throat like a small puff of air as my dad joined in the embrace. The three of us, on the pavement at the big fair where you could win a unicorn and eat candy apples, with all the lights and sounds dancing around us, were safely together.
Photo by Sebastian Davenport-Handley on Unsplash