The police car pulls up in front of my aunt and uncle’s apartment building. The officer lets me out of the car (he said I didn’t have to ride in the back but I insisted I knew how it felt) and I thank him though I don’t feel like I really meant it. If it weren’t for him I’d be in the museum right now.
He follows me to the door. He goes to ring my aunt and uncle’s buzzer but before his finger meets the button my aunt is already upon me, my uncle bringing up the rear arms crossed across his chest.
“Thank you for finding him,” says my uncle.
My aunt is squeezing me even though this is nearing the longest amount of time I’ve spent with her. She is normally out tending to “errands”. The officer and my uncle are talking but I can only hear clipped bits and pieces from my aunt-shaped cocoon. I hear things like “lost in the big city” and “might never have been found”.
Was this really that serious? I knew how to get home.
I try to tell someone this but my aunt is holding tighter her body shaking with sobs.
When she finally lets me go the police officer is already gone.
As I’m being escorted to the elevator my uncle lets me know that my father is on his way home from work.
“You were gone for nearly seven hours.”
“But I just fell asleep in the park.”
“If it hadn’t been for that irate cab driver asking around about you we would have never found you.”
“But I knew how to get home.”
“But you didn’t tell us where you were going. This was your first time out in the city and we thought you were gone forever. You have to understand, we were worried.”
But I couldn’t grasp it. No one ever cared where I was and when. I never thought it was important where I went. The only marker I could put on the time I spent away from the apartment today was the fact that my clothes, previously drenched by the rain, were now bone dry.
All I had were questions. Why did it take so long to find me if they were so worried? How had the cab driver found my aunt and uncle? Why wasn’t my father here already? But when I tried to ask anything my aunt just replied with, “Oh Simon,” and burst into tears again.