15 agonizing minutes!
by Daisy Bala

I’d always told him that running without looking is not safe, but I don’t think that meant much to him. That evening, my 2.5-year-old went barreling  off in our 15-story  apartment’s parking lot. At first, he was within arm’s reach, but as I briefly looked away and back he had vanished. Not a sign of him . . . Sid! I shrieked and called his name. No answer, nothing! With parched throat and racing heart, I darted around the parked cars, calling out to him, my voice trembling.  What-ifs ran across my mind; my mouth went dry and I started to hyperventilate.  A parent’s worst nightmare is having a lost child — and nobody can imagine the situation until it happens. Like a lunatic I started running across the pathways, escalators, stairs — calling him nonstop. All I wanted at that moment was him, just him. Sid!

Just then, a neighbor lady approached  with Sid’s hand grasped in hers. She had found him wandering around another floor asking for home. I clasped onto him and gave him a huge bear hug. I had lost him for almost 15 excruciating minutes but it seemed like a lifetime. Though he wasn’t crying his tiny face had swollen in anxiety. I tried not to cry; my heartbeat and voice were returning to normal. Never in my life had I felt that crazy, but gradually calmed down and felt overwhelmed with gratitude   I hugged and rocked Sid while repeating, ” I thought I’d lost you,”

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken at the Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago a few years ago when Sid was still under three years old, and would wander out of my sight in a flash. The twinkle in his eyes says it all!

daisy bala

Daisy Bala
lives in Chicago and maintains a blog at Her writing has been published with Silver Birch Press, Poetry Soup, and Creative Talents Unleashed