When I enter the bathroom uncle John comes in after me and says that he would stay with me, which is very nice. He is my favorite uncle. I don’t have a phone or anything to contact anyone. So I am always afraid of getting lost.
I poop and leave the bathrooms but when I go back outside he is
We’re at Lake Compounce water park and I’m
outside the bathroom.
I’m too short to see any the rides at the park or over the crowd.
I venture out a little further, into the bright sunlight. The sun is dazzling. People are walking all around me, so that I can’t see too far in any direction. It is mid-afternoon, probably around three o’clock, so it is really busy. The bathrooms are in front of a large, open space where many of the paths meet.
The only “ride” I can see is the water playground in front of me. It’s like a much larger version of the playground at Beaches Pool near our house, where the water cones balance on a rod in the middle and fill up with water and flip scarily when the water is too heavy. I used to stand under them, counting and guessing when and which way they would flip and make me scared that I would drown. But I stopped when it stopped becoming scary, or maybe because my sisters started copying me. But this playground was a lot bigger and had a lot more children to play with. It was pirate ship-themed, so it had a huge bucket at the top that poured down on the children.
Will it be better if I stayed or went? I pout, anxious.
Should I ask someone to use their phone? I only know two phone numbers (three, if you include 911): my mom’s and my dad’s.
I started to walk.
Because strangers might not let me use their phones, or they might kidnap me if they see me alone, a little kid, just as my parents always say. Or what if the strangers think I’m a trick? My parents keep showing us videos of their family in China who post videos of people doing horrible things to each other, like using kids as distractions for stealing.
But if I leave, then my parents might go looking for me and not find me where I should be. I would be forgotten.
I stop again.
Which way do I go?
I am surrounded by a wave of people scattered, talking happily with each other while I stand in the middle, not walking. I keep turning in circles, not sure which way I should go. I keep going back and forth, thinking that going means that I will lose them but staying meant they will lose me. And nobody tries to help me— they just walked in circles around me, giving me some space but never even looking. I am in my little bubble of being lost.
Waiting is very awkward. I stand out because I’m not happy. I want someone to realize that. But nobody does, and I begin to grunt. I want to cry.
Where is my family? Where could they have gone? They can’t have walked too far. I was only in the bathroom for five minutes, I swear! Maybe they left me here on purpose?
I begin to count the times the big bucket flips.
Should I stay?
Should I leave? I look around again.
Out of the crowd, I see uncle John, who is very tall. I run over to where he waves me over at the bench at the edge of the water playground. He tells me that my cousins are on the water playground.
I don’t like theme parks anymore. (2018 self: I still don’t.)