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The Curiosity of a Child

August 27, 2013

    ‘Okay…Brenden, you stand right here while I pay for our food.’ I told my three year old son.

    Brenden was born with temporal lobe seizures and needed to have anticonvulsant levels drawn frequently, especially when he started a new drug.

    He knew that if he cooperated at the clinic, we would stop for a meal or an ice cream cone on the way home.

    On this particular day, we chose Perkins.  He ordered pancakes and I had a garden omelet. I told him that I was very proud of him for being so brave while his blood was being drawn.

    He beamed beneath his maple syrup.

    After we finished, I stepped up to the counter to write the check.

    The man in front of us walked with crutches and made his way over to the coat closet to retrieve his jacket.

    I wrote the check and reached down for Brenden’s hand. I came up empty.  He wasn’t there!

    My heart skipped a beat and my omelet had turned to stone.  ‘Breathe,’ I told myself.  ‘He’s got to be here somewhere!’

    I quickly scanned the room, and there he was, engaged in an activity that I could not have imagined even in my most bizarre dreams.

    He wasn’t eating from someone else’s plate. He hadn’t crawled under another diner’s table.  He didn’t walk behind the counter and help himself to a cookie from the bakery display case. He wasn’t even peeing in the corner.

    Noooo.  My son was sitting on the floor just outside the coat closet next to the man with crutches. He had one arm hooked around the poor man’s left shin while the other hand was groping the stump of the man’s above-the-knee  amputation.

    I was mortified!  And my feet had grown roots.

    The waitress was stunned. People at nearby tables pointed. They stared, some with mouths hanging open. Others snickered and elbowed their table mates in the ribs to direct their attention to us.

    Silence prevailed. All eyes were on me.

    The blood rushed from my brain and pooled in my face. I was paralyzed!

    The gentleman and I made eye contact. I was jolted into action.

    ‘Oh NO! I’m sooooo sorry….Brenden, NO! That’s not nice…I’m so sorry…’ I babbled on as I rushed to my son, nearly knocking the poor man off his one good leg in my efforts to extract my son and LEAVE. THE. BUILDING.

    ‘Oh, it’s okay,’ chuckled the amputee. ‘Don’t be too hard on him…he’s just curious. He didn’t hurt me.’

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