The Easy Button

Spring everywhere. Even the smell of paper in Staples was fresher, like it was about to bloom back into trees. Riotous piles of multicolored paperclips like tulips. A boy stood in front of me, blocking my path.

“Mom? Where are you? Where are you?” He was apostrophizing a pile of index cards.

I had a heart-wrenching mindflash: me in a department store screaming, age 5 or 6, my mother just two or three sale racks away, but invisible, and there was no map of the world any more, no house or place, and I was lost like in my dreams, dreams in the jungle where I was supposed to hold on to my father and he got smaller and smaller and finally I dropped him because he was so tiny and there was nothing but green overgrowth and night. Spring takes me all over the place.

The boy tried again, nervously: “Mom? Where are you?”

A New Yorker’s curt twangy voice from the next aisle: “I’m here, Matt, I’m here.”

There was a pause. “I don’t know where here is,” he replied.

I was now next to him; I could see, as it were, the whites of his eyes. I shouldn’t have said anything, I really shouldn’t have, but his response seemed very beautiful. “Join the club,” I said. Just then, the mother came into view from around a bin of binders. She heard my comment, saw me address her child: she was not pleased.

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  1. hari
    Posted March 22, 2007 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    oops, sounds like some mommy had a paranoid moment. maybe she won’t be so detached anymore.

    i wish it could be spring all year round, or at least for 6 months.

  2. Marcia
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 12:47 am | Permalink

    I had a similar experience when I was about 4. I remember the terror at not knowing how to get back to the only safe and familiar thing in Sears.

    I can’t help but wonder when being suspicious rather than trusting became the default setting. It’s worrying only because it leads nowhere good. Suddenly the film Bubble Boy is in my head. Craziness.

  3. Lane Savant
    Posted March 23, 2007 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Once, while I was volunteering at Soundbridge (Seattle Symphony’s music discovery center) A boy paniced and ran out into the street because his mother was in the bathroom. I chased him to the end of the block and told hom that his mother was in still in the building Seattle Symphony now threatens me with arrest if I so much as walk on thier side of the street.
    When I was 3 or 4 I got lost in the woods next to the house. Mom mysteriously showed up, probably because I was crying at the top of my lungs. I was about 15 feet from the edge of the “forest.

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