Monday, September 19, 2011

The Day I Got Lost

With only eleven months difference between us, the younger of my two older brothers and I were inseparable when we were little. From morning to night, we were always together; practically joined at the hip. He wasn’t only my brother; he was also my best friend. We spent every waking moment hanging out. We ate together, slept at the same time, woke up at the same time, played together, shared everything we had with one another and never had any conflicts between us. We went so far as mimicking each other’s actions. If he left three peas on his plate, I did, too. If I drank only half my glass of milk, so did he. If he didn’t want to put on a scarf, neither did I. We were two peas in a pod.

One day, when I was four years old, my mother and I went to pick up my brother from school in the afternoon. We entered the building right as the students were being dismissed from class and heading outside, so it was total mayhem – kids, parents, lunchboxes and schoolbags galore. Although my mother kept reminding me to stay close to her and tried very hard to keep me by her side, somehow or other I got mixed up in the crowd and we lost sight of each other. Since I was a very small child, it wasn’t difficult to be hidden by the volume of people, and to be shuffled along by them.

Holding on tightly to my brother, my mother called out to me, but I never heard her. There were too many kids, and the noise level was drowning her voice. I couldn’t hear her calling me and she could not see or hear me. I was lost, and for the first time in my life I was alone and without a parent. I don’t remember if I was afraid or not – I believe I wasn’t - but I do remember that above everything else, I was thinking and worrying about my brother. Being disconnected from him was the most difficult part of the predicament I was in.

Best buddies
My mother tried to stay calm because surprisingly enough my brother was in a severe state of panic. He did not fully comprehend what had happened, but he did understand that I was lost. Lost, in his mind, was gone. Possibly forever. At one point, he began crying uncontrollably, and my mother was unable to console him. His little sister, his best friend, the closest person he had in his life, had disappeared. “We’ve lost our girl”, he wailed. “Where is she? What are we going to do? WE HAVE TO FIND HER!”


Instead of calling the police right away, my mother decided to head back to our place, which was just a couple of blocks away. Because I’d been walking to and from the school with her every day for months to pick up my brother, she thought that perhaps I had memorized the twice-daily route and headed home to wait for them. My brother reluctantly went along, wailing all the way there.

In the meantime, I had done exactly what my mother thought I would do - I had headed back home. I don’t remember the details clearly, but I do have a vague recollection of speaking with an older child in the schoolyard. Now whether I had looked distraught and she approached me, or whether I calmly approached her for help is beyond my memory. I do, however, recall being asked if I knew my way home and confirming to this ‘big kid’ that I did. With that information on hand, she asked me to show her the way and she took me home. I walked happily alongside her, proud of myself for knowing the way to my house, and eager and excited to get back be with my brother! When we arrived at our destination, I said good-bye to the girl who walked me there, entered our building and planted myself on the steps in front of our apartment to wait for my mother and brother who hadn’t arrived yet.

Soon enough the door of the building opened, and when my brother spotted me, he raced up the stairs to embrace me. We hugged each other tightly for the longest time, both of us crying with joy. Clearly, neither one of us truly understood the real dangers of the world outside, nor what could become of a lost child. We hadn’t feared something terrible happening to me; instead, we feared losing one another.

My mother remembers that day very well. She says we literally glued onto one another and she couldn’t pull us apart. And after that incident, you can bet that both she and my brother were very vigilant about keeping a close eye on me. Making sure I never got ‘lost’ again. This is a moment in my childhood that I will remember forever. Mostly because of the extreme joy I felt reuniting with my best friend – my brother.

What about you? Have you ever been lost?


  1. What a sweet story Martha :) I like that you considered your brother to be your best friend. That pic is priceless - you've hardly changed! I regularly pop by your blog (& others), almost every day actually (lol), but haven't been commenting - just enjoying - as I'm trying to keep my presence in the blogosphere down to a dull roar - it was seriously becoming an obsession for me!

  2. Hiya Jane! Nice to see you here. No need to explain; I know exactly what you mean. I do a quick visit to my favourite blogs early in the morning and then get on with my day. Sometimes I'll visit a blog or two during the day, but only if I'm completely free - or bored. The vast majority of the posts on my blog are pre-scheduled, sometimes weeks in advance, so I don't need to be here every day. This works well for me. I can enjoy my blog without it taking over my life. It can be quite addictive, so I've learned to control it.

  3. Great story - I learned to be independent quite young, I remember taking the bus around our small city with friends at probably 8 or so, and we always had to walk to the store for milk and bread since we were quite young. I don't have a getting lost story, but your reunion with your brother was sooo sweet!

  4. @Tatiana: It's fun being independent when you're a kid. Makes you fell grown up.