Guest Writer: Left Behind

By: Michaela Brown

I will never be able to forget how excited I was that day. It was the first field trip of my first grade year. I had been waiting weeks to go on this field trip, not only because we got to leave school, but also because we were going swimming at a public pool. I had been swimming since I was three, while some of the other kids in my class did not know how to swim at all.

Mimi swimming

Michaela Brown learned how to swim at 3 years old.

The day finally arrived and we all scrambled onto the buses. I sat next to my best friend Larissa Twinem. She had just moved to Peru from Canada, so I helped translate if she did not understand something. Our teacher counted everyone’s heads and we took off.

Mimi and Larissa

Michaela Brown and Larissa Twinem instantly became best friends.

When we arrived, our teacher pointed out that girls could change in the room to the right and the boys in the room to the left.

We ran into the rooms, changed as quickly as possible and ran out to the pool. Larissa and I already knew how to swim, so our teacher let us swim laps while our P.E. teacher taught our classmates how to swim. We had a great time playing in the pool, but before we knew it, it was time to go. We changed back into our school uniforms, and then waited around for the bus.

As the bus pulled up, my teacher yelled, “Who needs to go to the bathroom?”

Larissa and I raised our hands, so our teacher took the two of us back to the bathrooms.

“Wait, is there toilet paper?” our teacher asked.

“No,” Larissa said.

“I don’t have any either,” I said.

“Wait here until I bring you some toilet paper,” our teacher said.

So we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

After about 10 minutes of just sitting and waiting, we figured that she was not coming back. We got out of the stalls and walked outside. I was the first to realize what had happened.

“They’re all gone!” I screamed, trying not to cry.

A vision suddenly ran past my mind. It was an image of Larissa and I. We were really old, like maybe 30 (which was one of the oldest ages I could think of), and we were living in the little toy house they had on the playground next to the pool. We would never see our parents again, nor our friends. We were lost.

Larissa and I both ran, mainly in circles because we did not know where we were going and there was no one we could run to. A man at the front desk saw us panicking and called us over.

“Were you guys with the school?” he asked, shocked that they would leave the two gringitas (North Americans) behind. “Why are you still here?”

“Yes, they left us,” we replied, still trying to calm down.

He sat there silently, almost as if he was deciding what to do.

“Do you know your phone number?” he asked me.

“Of course” I said.

I gave him my phone number and he typed it into his phone. Larissa and I sat anxiously on the floor to see what would happen.

There was no response. He tried again; still no response. We had no idea what to do.

Suddenly, our savior came. A man had overheard our conversation and offered to help.

¨Do you know your address?” he asked.

“No,” Larissa said.

“I know mine,” I said.

“I will take you then,” the man said.

Larissa and I knew that we were not supposed to take rides from strangers, so we discussed our next move. In our minds there were only two options: we went with him and took our chances, or we stayed living in the little toy house for 24 years.

“OK, we will go with you,” I told the man.

We got into the car and headed off, but the one thing I distinctly remembered about the trip to the pool was that we turned right to go into the public pool building, meaning we would have to go left to go back toward the school and my house. This man did not go to the left, he went straight.

“You were supposed to go left,” I told him.

“Oh,” he said. “Don’t worry, this is my own secret shortcut.”

Fear tore through my body. This was the catch phrase that my parents always told me that kidnappers said. Larissa understood enough to know what he had said, and we agreed that he must be a kidnapper. We panicked; we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do.

“Let’s wait five minutes,” we agreed. “If we still don’t know where we are, we jump out at the next red light.”

Mimi and Lari

Michaela Brown and Larissa Twinem took caution with the man driving them home.

Being two 6-year-olds, we did not really know how to tell the time, so about five to 10 minutes passed before we decided to jump out at the next red light. We saw the red light coming up.

“Wait,” I said. “I think this is the park by my house.”

Sure enough, we passed my little sister’s school and the grocery store, confirming that we were on our way to my house.

In just a matter of moments, we arrived. The driver waited for us as we rang the doorbell. My maid, Elizabeth, answered the door.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

“They left us at the pool on our field trip,” I said.

She let us in and we went up to my room to play with my Barbie’s, when suddenly there was a knock on the door.

“Who do you think that is?” Larissa asked.

I didn’t answer. We were both hoping that it was not our teacher coming to take us back to school. Unfortunately, it was. But it was not the teacher who left us on the field trip, but my kindergarten teacher from the year before.

“Where have you guys been?” she asked. “Your teacher called me in a panic saying she had left you at the pool, and when I got to the pool they told me that some man had taken you home.”

“Yup,” we said.

We did not really talk anymore about it, but when we got to the school, our teacher came to us. It was obvious that she had been crying.

“I’m so sorry,” she said.

“When did you realize we were missing?” I asked.

“When we got to the school, I realized that I had two extra towels,” she said. “I kept asking around to find out whose they were, but no one claimed them. That’s when I realized that I had left you two in the bathroom”

We went home a few hours later. Our parents had been called when they realized they had left us, so they knew what had happened. We told them our sides of the story, how we were left in the bathroom, and then a man offered to take us home, how that man said it was his own secret shortcut, and how we thought for sure we were getting kidnapped.

But all turned out well in the end, and we were never left on a field trip again.

Mimi and Larissa today

Larissa Twinem and Michaela Brown are still friends today.

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