One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine… ten!
“Ready or not, here I come!”
Hide and Seek has always been my favorite game. I love playing it with my mommy, sometimes she seeks, but it’s best when she hides. She sometimes hides in the most fun areas, like under the kitchen sink or behind the couch. When I’d jump out and shout ‘I found you!’ she’d laugh and gather me into her arms, blowing raspberries onto my tummy and making me laugh so much I couldn’t breathe.
Lately though, it’s been getting hard to find her.
I dash past the living room, crawling beside the couch. I pop out and shout ‘boo!’
Nope. She wasn’t on the couch. All right, the next place, she had to be in the kitchen! My little bare feet go pitter patter on the floor as I run into the kitchen. I climb onto the counter and look around and around. I even jump down to look under the sink.
Not here either? What a bummer.
I search the bathroom next, where she might be crouched behind the shower curtain. I’d just had a bath, my hair was all wet, but she wasn’t in there anymore. I had to think for a bit. She couldn’t be in my room… of course!
Giggling, so proud of myself, I ran from the bathroom up the stairs into her room.
Mommy was there! She was asleep on her bed, she must’ve forgot we were playing. I jumped onto the bed and crawled over to her. She apparently was napping quite hard, as she didn’t even stir. I smiled, so proud, and kissed her forehead.
“I found you, mommy!”
Mommy jolted awake and screamed.
With a warble of fear, she rolled off the bed and started to crawl away, her expression filled with dread. I cocked my head to the side. “Mommy? It’s me! I found you!” I chirped, hopping off the bed and following her, my feet leaving tiny wet footprints.
“Fuck off! Go away! Leave me alone!” She screamed.
What was she talking about? I cocked my head to the side. “Mommy? Don’t you want to play?” My arms extended for a hug.
“I killed you! For god’s sake, I killed you!” My mommy dragged her hands down her face, tears starting to appear at the corners of her very tired eyes. “I’ve done everything I can, why won’t you leave me alone?”
I remained quiet for a few more seconds, before I reached out my arms again and tried to brush away her tears. “Don’t cry, mommy. Wanna play Hide and Go Seek again?”
With a desperate wail, my mom shoved past me and ran out the front door. I heard her car tires squeal as she pulled out of the driveway and took off.
So, she wanted to hide again.
That was okay.
I’d always find her.