I had such a harrowing experience this evening that I hardly have the words to describe it.
Joe, Grace, and I had a terrific afternoon and evening at our friend’s house. Joe and I chatted with a handful of our adult friends, and Grace frolicked with their kids.
We stayed a bit too long, and Grace was entering meltdown mode by the time we left. She was too tired; she’d had too much fun.
I had to run into the CVS store on the way home, and I asked Joe to come along to sit in the car with Grace. We’d met at our friend’s house after work, so we had our separate cars.
The only trouble was that I didn’t specify which CVS, and Joe and I ended up at different ones.
I took Grace into the store with me. As usual, we were chatting and having a good old time. We picked up the products that we needed and stood in line at the counter.
As the clerk scanned my two items, I looked through my purse for my wallet. I found it and looked up to see Grace going out the automatic door of the store – two steps behind the man that had been in front of us in line.
“Grace!” I called.
She didn’t stop.
“GRACE!” I called again.
She still didn’t stop.
“GRACE, STOP!” I screamed. I saw her again, still two steps behind the total stranger and within arm’s reach of his car.
I felt like I was dreaming. Everything was happening so quickly, and Grace didn’t seem to be hearing me at all.
“GRACE, STOP RIGHT NOW!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. My throat burned.
The man stopped and turned around to see what was going on. Grace saw his face and was instantly hysterical. She froze right in the middle of the parking lot, screaming and wailing, but not taking a step towards me or the man.
I ran to her, and I grabbed her up. I hugged her tightly, one hand around her body and the other around her head.
She wailed and began to hyperventilate.
I breathed. I think it was my first breath between seeing her walk out the door and picking her up.
I felt sick. We both cried. We stood there together for a minute, holding onto each other.
We went back into the store, paid the bill, gathered our things, and left.
In the car, I said a prayer. I thanked God that the man had no ill intentions. I thanked Him that I noticed right away and caught up in time and that Grace didn’t get hit by a car or snatched up or – whatever.
I’m still feeling sick over what could have been.
Photo courtesy of e453753 on Flickr
© 2009, Tara Ziegmont. All rights reserved.