My red gumboots get covered in squishy mud when I hop into the puddles. Mom wants me to hurry up, she wants to get the shopping done, it’s raining outside, cold and wet. She tugs on my hand, but I pull mine away from hers. I can walk by myself. I’m big now, almost four, and shopping’s boring. I wanted to stay with the puddles. She’s frustrated, she says fine, I don’t have to hold her hand, but I have to stay close by her.
It’s warmer inside the store, and the lights are very white. There’s lots of beeping and talking and noise and a lot of colors, too bright after the dark outside. I want to get a cart, I’m tired now from the driving and jumping in the puddles. Mom says no, we don’t need a cart, we’re only getting a few things.
I stomp my foot and whine but mom pretends not to hear me, so I sit down on the cold floor. I don’t want to walk anymore. I’m tired and cold and wet and I want to go home now. This is the worst day ever.
Mom keeps walking. I can see her still, but she’s getting further away, she’s looking at the meat. Maybe if I sit here, she’ll see how tired I am and she’ll feel sorry for me and then we can go home.
The floor is too hard for sitting. I watch a big brown pair of shoes belonging to a tall man walk by, then smaller blue shoes on a woman walking the other way. None of the feet notice me.
I look up for mom. Suddenly I want her again, I want my Mom, this store’s too big and loud, but I don’t see her. She’s not by the meat anymore. I get up and start walking to where she just was, but I don’t see her anywhere. Where did she go?
I don’t know what to do. There’s so many people, they’re so big, but none of them are mom. Did she leave me here? Maybe she doesn’t want me anymore. Maybe she’s traded me for a girl who doesn’t splash in mud puddles and doesn’t get her new red gumboots muddy on purpose, one that doesn’t need a cart when she’s shopping because she can walk all by herself. Maybe mom got too tired of me.
I start to cry, loudly. I want mom to come back, I don’t want to stay here on this cold, hard floor looking at store people’s feet forever, and I don’t want mom to have a new, better girl. I want mom to have me.
And then, suddenly, I see her. She’s running towards me even though you can’t run in the store. She reaches me and lifts me up in her arms, she’s so warm and smells just like she should. She’s murmuring she’s sorry, and my sorries come tumbling out too, and we leave the store holding hands.
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