Hide and Seek

It’s growing dark, and in a minute the streetlights will begin to shine. The warm twilight is filled with the sounds of children’s voices, talking softly, hoping their parents will forget that they are still outdoors; hoping for a five more minutes to play.

A young girl is hiding behind the slide in her backyard. No one has found her, yet. She knows that in a moment, the kids will abandon the game, slowly dragging their dirty, bare feet as they head to their back stoops. The porch light is abuzz with moths flickering around it’s bright, yellow light.

The girl hears the children’s voices fading and the last screen door slam until all is silent. She remains crouched in the shadows, her bladder suddenly feeling full. She waits to see if anyone will notice that she is missing.

She watches her brothers and sisters in the windows as they walk through the house. The sounds of water filling the tub, a yelp, a cry, and then her mother’s sharp voice calling up the stairs.

The girl begins to feel afraid. Will she remain lost forever? Will no one notice she is gone?She wants to emerge, but decides to wait just a little bit longer. Her fear increasing by the minute.

Tears well up and she wants to run, but where? To the family that has forgotten her, or to another place far away. She wipes her nose on the back of her hand, determined  to come out of the shadows and walk away.

Her attention is suddenly on her bedroom window. Her mother is raising her arm to pull down the shade. Her mother crouches down and her face is close to the screen. She is looking, searching in the dark for something.

Then she calls the little girl’s name. There is worry and concern in her voice. And the little girl is reassured. She was lost, but now found.

© annettealaine-2013


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