It was the first time the Block family went to a carnival – in all previous years little Tommy was too young, which made others stay at home. Every single year on the carnival weekend, Suzy would be very annoyed by the fact that her brother was stopping her from having fun. But now Tommy was 5, so they could go all together and enjoy the infamous rainbow pretzels and relatively high rollercoasters. The youngest child was old enough to go to the carnival itself, but Samantha and John, his mother and father, would still be limited in their movements and places they could go, because they couldn’t leave him alone or with his sister.
They got there in their small silver Ford Focus, but sadly, the car park was full, so it took them about half an hour to figure out that there were no parking spots. Children were quiet at first, but when they saw the car leave the carnival parking, Suzy stared whining. This caused her mother to shush at her from the front seat because if Susan was naughty, so would be Tommy. They left the territory of the carnival and made a couple circles around the area until they got a suitable place to park their car. The oldest child seemed grumpy as they got out of the car. She was irritated that they had to set off late because packing Tommy’s nappies and food was taking too long, so they set off 2 hours later than they had presumed. This was always the case with family trips, but it still was hurtful to her baby heart.
It took them fifteen minutes to walk to the main entrance. Stepping into the brightly lit carnival blinded the family members. They did not have a plan of what to do and where to go, even though they were supposed to plan it in advance. As Samantha and John were stricken by the noise and movement, Suzy saw the rainbow pretzel stall. She grabbed her father’s hand and pulled him to the smiling blonde lady, who was standing behind the counter.
‘What can I get for you?’ she asked in a soothing welcoming voice.
‘Dad, can I please get a pretzel?’ she looked at him with begging eyes and drew her hands to her face.
‘Only if you share it, sugar bear,’ he said and patted her on her head, ‘Can we please get a rainbow pretzel?’
‘Sure,’ she wrapped it in paper and gave it to John, ‘There you go.’
‘Thank you,’ and he handed it to Suzy.
She ran to her mother to show her that she got a treat she came here for. Her mother did not seem as excited as Suzy expected her to be, but she tried not to bother about Samantha’s attitude. She only took one bite, when Tommy tried to pull it to him and taste it himself. She thought he was holding it tight, when she let go. But he wasn’t, and the pastry fell on the muddy floor along with glitter and pieces of tickets. Suzy was fuming, but she did not say a word, instead she turned around and ran away into the crowd. Her parents tried to follow her, but she got lost mong other people with children.
As she ran, tears of anger were rolling down her face. Sobbing made sprinting more difficult, but the baby girl kept going with the same speed and passion. She ran past roller coasters and massive queues on them, the Big wheel, and more food stands. She stopped at the inflatable trampoline, which resembled a castle. She saw a hole for the staff to control the amount of air, she climbed there and hid near the machine, which was inflating. It was very loud and annoying, but she remained there to spite her parents. Suzy sat there for an uncertain amount of time, but it sure felt like a noisy eternity.
Her parents were running around, with Tommy panicking on their arms. Anxiety grew inside them because their only daughter escaped into a busy crowd, and no one knew what would have happened next. All they knew – it was a dangerous place for an eleven-year-old. They tried to brush away the nasty thoughts about kidnappers and child molesters, which could have got their hands on their little girls. But the worrying was getting more intense. Their only hope was getting to the information post, and seeing if they could use the speaker to find their daughter.
After around ten minutes, which felt like seven years to Suzy, she got bored with listening to children laughing while jumping on the trampoline. She crawled from her hiding spot and looked around. She did not remember her way back – she actually was lost now. She walked through people, bumping into some of them. She was terrified, now tears of fear started running down her face. She tried calling for her mum and dad, but there was no response given. When she started to give up, she heard her name being called via speaker, telling her to come to the information spot as her parents were waiting for her. ‘Where could that information point be?’ – she asked herself. Her height was too little for her to see anything among adults passing by, and asking would have been too scary. Not to mention, she was told to never talk to strangers. She kept looking around for something to stand on, so she would get a better view of the surrounding area. But there was nothing high enough, which she could use. Suzy started walking further, supposedly, in the direction she remembered to have come from. At some point, she saw enormous letters, which spelled out ‘INFO’. She ran towards it, but no one was waiting for her there. She sat on the floor, leaning on the wall, and started crying.
She kept weeping, thinking that her mum and dad left her because she had been a bad daughter. And now they would have a happy family of three. Her thoughts kept spiralling and making her cry even more. This was when her dad peeked from around the stall. Her face was in her hands, so she didn’t see him. He touched her shoulder and called her name. His daughter lifted her eyes – a big smile was facing her. She jumped into his arm and melted in the hug. No argument followed: everyone was too stressed to have a fight.
They enjoyed a couple of hours in the park and went home. There, they had a conversation between parents and daughter. Not about running away, but jealousy of her little brother. A lot had been said about sharing love and parents. Samantha and John did their best to make their daughter feel better. But if that group talk worked, her therapist will find out when she is older.
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