For part 1, click here.
Maryland, USA – 2000
The next time one of my siblings got “misplaced” was less than a year later. My family moved to Rockville, Maryland for six months before moving back to Peru. I was about six years old at the time.
While we were living there, I decided to try taking a gymnastics class. So the whole time we lived in Maryland, I went to a gym every night for gymnastics and got prepared for the day I would get to present what I learned at the end of the class in front of everyone’s parents.
I only remember two experiences from the class. One was the time I decided my balance was so good that I ran across the balance beam and got yelled at by the teacher.
“No running on the balance beam,” she announced to the entire class as I raced across the beam.
I immediately slowed down and was very embarrassed. I slowly walked across the balance beam for the rest of the class.
The other time I remember was when my brother Josiah got lost.
It was the last day of my gymnastics class and my class was presenting what we had learned in front of our parents. I vaguely remember my teacher helping me up onto the high bar and swinging me back and forth.
When I finished, I hugged my parents as they told me how well I had done. As I made my way to the changing rooms, Mom stopped walking.
“Where is Josiah?” she said.
We looked around. My brother, two years old at the time, was nowhere to be found.
Dad ran back into the gym where they had been sitting while my mom checked the bathroom. When they came back, I could see the fear in their faces. My mom began tearing up.
“Oh no, Rich, what am I going to do?” Mom said.
Mom ran down the hall toward the changing rooms and I stayed with Michaela.
After searching everywhere in the building, my mom decided to check in the bathroom one more time. She went in and checked the two stalls that were there. When she opened the door to the second stall, she heard giggling coming from between that stall and the wall.
The space next to the second stall was too small for another toilet, so the architects had decided to leave the space empty. When Josiah had gone to the bathroom earlier, he had found the spot and decided it was a perfect hiding place for playing hide-and-seek.
However, he had not informed anyone else that he had decided to play hide-and-seek.
When she found him, my mom hugged Josiah with tears streaming down her face.
The whole ride home consisted of explanations that all the kids must let the parents know when they are playing a game, especially if they are supposed to be involved.
Needless to say, that was the worst hide-and-seek game my family ever “played.”
Thankfully, it would be another three years before another one of my siblings got “misplaced” again.