When I was a child I had an intense fear of losing my parents. It all began after an incident when I got lost on an elevator. I was about three years old and my father had taken me in to work with him. He worked in town in this big building on the 7th floor. We got into the elevator and he was holding my hand. There was a mirror at the back of the elevator and I went over to look at myself. I was making goofy faces and poking at the mirror. Honestly, I don’t remember exactly what I was doing but I do know that I was distracted. The elevator stopped on the 3rd floor and my father’s coworker got in. They began to chat, business stuff, adult stuff, boring stuff.
The elevator went up and my father and his coworker got off on the 7th floor – without me. My father was obviously as distracted as I was because he suddenly stopped talking to his coworker and turned around only to realize that I was nowhere to be seen. I was still on the elevator. When that elevator door closed and I turned around and noticed I was all alone I let out a wail like nothing I had ever heard come out of me. I proceeded to go press all the buttons that my little fingers could reach. The elevator went up, the elevator went down and eventually I wondered off one of the floors.
I was a three year old wondering on my own around a big, scary corporate office. I think it was the first moment I realized what a big, daunting world we lived in and how I was merely just a small fragment of it all. A couple of business people passed me and looked around in shock. Finally a woman came up to me and picked me up. “Hello there,” she said. “Where is your mommy?”
Meanwhile, three flights up, my father was running around like a maniac. He had gone up and down the elevator, and he had rushed through the offices. Galloping up the stairs he eventually bumped into this woman carrying me. “Sweetheart!” He said, “Where did you go?” And then he kissed my cheeks and my forehead and hugged me tightly. And I think I cried, or laughed, or both. I don’t remember exactly, but I remember it felt incredibly good.