Saturday, August 11, 2007

Sunday Scribblings: Goosebumps

On the playground, there are always several parents' voices drowning out the sounds of children at play. The campground playground is no exception. But the way the woman was calling her daughter's name sounded more strident, with none of the annoyance of repeated calls for dinner or to play nicely with a sibling or to stop throwing sand.

"Haley! Haley!"

Walking toward the restroom, I walked past a young woman who asked if I'd seen Haley, a little girl, about 4, dressed in pink, with curly blonde hair and blue eyes. I hadn't, I told her. And then I continued to the restroom. Instead of going into a stall, I looked under each stall, called curly Haley's name, and then left.

Several people were now shouting for her. I could clearly make out the mother's and the father's voices. The mother's voice was now filled with urgency. It came in and out of my focus as if she were cupping her mouth and turning 360 degrees repeatedly. It trailed off and moved farther away, as her search perimeter moved beyond the immediate playground area.

The father's voice, previously calm, measured and deep, now was the loudest in the area. He had stopped the charade of casualness. It was serious now.

I stopped two teens on bicycles. Had they seen the curly girl? They hadn't. Would they mind riding around and seeing if they could spot her? Onto the other restroom, the larger one, and asking the people I came upon the same question. No one had seen her, but now more were enlisted to search.

As an aside to the young woman who first queried me, I'd asked if anyone had checked the car. To me and my sense of paranoia, the first place to check would be the car, where children often play, oblivious to the danger, to the rising heat.

Walking more quickly back to the original site, there she was. She was about, wearing pink, with blonde curly hair, blue eyes and very rosy cheeks. She'd been playing in the car. The father said he'd heard someone suggest checking it, so he did. And he found her.

I still get goosebumps thinking about what might have been.

[Written in response to the prompt at Sunday Scribblings.]

18 comments:

colleen said...

I think the reasons we get goose bumps are common among us and are the most human part of us.

Rob Kistner said...

That would have been an incredibly unnerving experience... goosebumps of panic and fear!

Herb Urban said...

That has to be one of our biggest nightmares as a parent. Glad for all concerned she was found safe and sound.

Lucy said...

you hit the goosebump on the head! whenever for a split second I couldn't see my child, goosebumps covered me! great post, glad she was fine.

Paul said...

So glad this ended well. There are so many nightmare stories in our world today.

Kamsin said...

I couldn't help but think of little Madeline McCann still missing in Portugal. Her parents weren't so lucky. Goosebumps indeed.
I can remember wandering off on a crowded beach as a child (must have been a little older than 4) totally oblivious to the panic I caused my Mum and grandparents! I wandered back eventually, no idea what all the fuss was about! I guess we must be thankful that usually kids do turn up again and they've probably been having a whale of a time playing somewhere!

Brian said...

That does freak me out. I'm so glad it turned out all right.

raymond pert said...

As powerful as the happy ending to your story is the portrait of all these people pulling together to help these parents in such desperate situation. People are, on the whole, good and caring and your story illustrates this beautifully. This goodness gives me goosebumps.

Gilson said...

It seems like our imagination gets twice as vivid in those moments of stress, and its much more difficult to calm down.

Liza's Eyeview said...

Oh I agree - with the news around, I too would have gotten goosebumps thinking what might been. I'm glad the girl is ok.

Gill said...

My worst nightmare, that would definitely cover me in goosebumps!

Tammy said...

I got goose-bumps when you wrote they found her. Too many bad things happen and that could have ended badly. Well told!

allrileyedup said...

Well I hope they had a strong talk with her after they found her...

Olsum said...

That brought back memories of goosebumps as I search for my three years old daughter lost in a huge shopping center in Singapore. The fear, the panic, the anxiety was followed by despair as time passes without a trace of her. For the first time, as I heard my heart screaming out for help, it was echoed loudly by the speaker announcing and seeking shoppers help to locate her. I was brought back to reality only when I chance upon her hiding happily in a play area. It was difficult to fully describe the feelings but you've brought out the essence of the memories then. I am glad and happy for the happy ending in your article.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Oh my goodness- with everything you hear today it's such a scary thing. Goosebumps indeed...

DJPare said...

Scary scenerio - always!

Well told. I felt like I was in on the search.

gautami tripathy said...

Very glad all was ok. It was really very scary..

Jeni said...

My daughter, son and I had a similar experience on the 4th of July while at a big cookout at a friend's camp. With us, it was my little granddaughter, who will be four in October and is autistic who disappeared. I was sitting on the porch talking with friends and had the baby -15 months -with me and didn't know she'd disappeared and my son, daughter (her mother) and about 8 others there were looking for her. Someone mentioned the big pond on the property and my son went down there. Sure enough, there she was -wading around, up to her waist deep and having a grand old time -oblivous to the danger there as there are dropoffs all over the place and it is a very deep pond too. Terrified? You bet! My son carried her up to her mother, sobbing. The daughter was really panic stricken and came to me then, grabbed me saying in a low voice, "We need to leave. NOW!" She was frightened plus felt embarrassed that the little girl had gotten away so easily from her view and what would people think then plus being peeved too because there were also a good many adults and older kids down at the pond and no one seemed to notice this little girl who could easily have stumbled, fallen in and well, I hate to think of what the outcome could have been. Needless to say, we all had nightmares that night and for several days thereafter.

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