The Give-A-Penny dish still sports the lone quarter among several of its bronze fellows. Alas, something that wasn’t just in my imagination/wishful thinking. Careful not to wake the clerk I palm the quarter and, light on my feet, run into the back where the phone lies in wait.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not looking forward to my parents picking me back up but being lost is something far more terrifying and desperate.
The receiver is pressed to my ear as I let the quarter fall from the tips of my fingers into the coin slot. It works its magic inside as I hear the hiccup in the dial tone. I dial my mother’s work cellular number.
“Who’s me,” she answers already sounding aggravated.
“It’s Simon. Y-you left me.”
“I know sweetie, you left the car, I figured you wanted some time to yourself. I thought you were walking home when we couldn’t find you?”
“What are you talking about? I’m in the middle… of… uh, nevermind.” And as the word “middle” falls from my lips my eyes are already drifting through the store and out the window. It’s as though someone dumped my hometown on top of this previously unknown place.
“Where are you calling from?”
“Uh,” and as though I actually have to think about it I continue, “the gas station.”
“Well it would be nice if you’d join us at home. And Simon?”
“Keep the snarkiness to yourself next time hun.”
“But where were you?”
“Honey, I thought I told you not to ask stupid questions. You know that every time we are on the way home from school that we stop at Burger King for lunch,” and as though I must have forgotten she continues, “You know we’ve been going there since Kindergarten?”
“Yup, got it.”
“Sorry. See you soon.”
“Don’t be silly your father will come pick you up.” and she hangs up.
Seriously? I must be crazy. Aren’t they the ones who left me here? And now with the offer to pick me up? I don’t get it.