Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The fear of loss

I watched a disturbing, but intriguing and well done film tonight about a man who tries to reenter civilian life as an organ player after serving time for killing a young boy. Among the scenes were the mother, coming out from the cafĂ© where she’d left her sleeping son in a stroller and not finding him. And a scene with the man, coming out from school and not being able to find a boy he was caring for. Both of them caused such feelings of anxiety.

I had one brief moment like that. While we were in the library and I was in the midst of the self-checkout of books, River ran away from me. Initially, I didn’t worry too much. It’s a safe place and there is only one way out and I was near that exit. Yet, when I was able to get away from the counter, leaving my purse and books there, I didn’t see him. I looked up the stairs, around the area and towards the exit, but nothing. I paused, expecting I’d hear his voice, but nothing. Minor panic set in. If I went into the library, he could run out the exit without me seeing. So I went to the exit first. But there was a huge crowd of people attending a film festival and the area was packed. What if one of them was evil and grabbed him? What if he’d gotten out the series of doors to the street?

I thought about asking the library staff member near the exit if he’d seen a toddler come by. But I was too ashamed. That would be admitting that I’d let him out of sight. I imagined a scene in which he was missing and I’d failed to enlist help immediately because I was too ashamed. It was brief, but horrible. Finally he came out from some bookshelves, happily toddling over to me in his overlarge leather jacket.

The fear of the world was lifted in the embrace of love. What a horrible thing to lose a child. A couple of minutes is terrifying. I really feel for anyone who experiences it for longer.

1 comment:

Lainey Wright said...

I read the very first chapter of Ian McEwan's The Child in Time when X was a wee baby & was so filled with anxiety that I had to put it aside for another time. It is about this very subject -a father loses his daughter in the checkout line at the grocery store. Horrible. You should check it out if you want to be totally disturbed.

Also -I had a dream along these lines a few nights ago -I dreamed that I took my neighbor's son to the park & lost him in a crowd of people. I ran around looking for him, hollering his name. All the kids on the playground looked like him from a distance. I woke up just as I was about to phone his mother to let her know what I had done. I was paralyzed with fear. It was a nightmare.