Doesn’t sound like a nice story, does it? I hope my mother doesn’t read this one. Gord brought Michael, Rebecca and I off to the bed shop and entertained Rebecca while we lolled around on mattresses. Rebecca was completely charmed by him. He has white hair and twinkly eyes and he chatted away to her and helped her on and off with her shoes. While having his ears bent. She never stops talking.
We headed off to Zellers then, to get work boots for Michael. It all started so well. We looked at the boots. Picked a brand. Got a couple of sizes to try on. All this time, Rebecca just wanted Gord. If he wandered off, she hunted him down. Ran down the aisles towards him. Stuck herself to his leg. Until we turned to the shelf to find another size, turned around 3 seconds later, and she was gone. “Rebecca?”, I called, all sweetness and light. “Rebecca? Where are you, baby?”. “Re-BEC-ca!?”. Bit more urgency now. I started walking rapidly down the aisles. “Rebecca? Rebecca!”. I saw Michael heading in the same direction, a couple of aisles over. “Go the OTHER way!” I hissed. Customers were starting to stop what they were doing. “What’s she wearing?” a couple of them asked. Oh God. I dressed five children that morning. “Em…oh God, I don’t know….let me think…” Inspiration struck. “A grey teeshirt with coloured spots all over it. And purple shorts. And a flowery, luridly orange and pink sunhat. With pink polka dot sunglasses.” I could almost hear them thinking “and you forgot that ensemble??” I should really have added that, in fact, she had dressed herself, but I was already looking like Bad Mom of the Week. So the shop goes into lockdown. All the sales assistants, security staff and customers start looking for her. “Rebecca? RebECCA? Rebeeeeeeeca?” “What is she wearing?” “what age is she?” “REBECCA?!” I was starting to hyperventilate. Jesus. I had lost my youngest daughter in a department store in a shopping mall in Saskatoon. On our first full day. Then I heard a heavenly voice. “Is this your daughter? Hiding under this clothes rack?” I race over, and there she is. Hiding. HIDING. With the whole of Saskatchewan looking for her. I scooped her up, resisted the urge to wallop her, and looked around the shop for Michael. Word was spreading fast. “She’s found. She’s safe. That little girl in Orphan Annie’s clothes is ok…..” I saw Gord across the shop and held her up to show him. No sign of Michael.
“Michael?” “MICHael?” “MICHAEL?” I started moving through the aisles, sweating, red-faced, clutching Rebecca. Looking like a madwoman really. Gord started calling him as well. Finally, we found him. Bought the damn boots and left. “You know” said Gord, “I was waiting for people to start asking me for a description of Michael. You know, ‘what height is your son, sir, and what’s he wearing?’ Well, he’s about six feet, grey hair, orange t-shirt….” “Oh God” I said. “I think I’ve aged about 10 years”. “And you know, Barbara, some of your hair has gone grey “. Funny guy, Gord.