and then. . .

just as The Teen stopped vomiting (and yes, it came out the other end instead) (hooray! I get to take the sample in that the doctor wanted), his little sister - previously known as Smallest Person, now Mini-Teen - phoned

in tears

she'd taken the wrong bus home by mistake, didn't realise, was distracted by chatting to some girls from her school, and before she knew it was on the other side of London
lost and all alone

she's tiny, she doesn't look eleven and a month, she's weighed down by her school bag, swamped by her uniform. . .

floods and floods of tears
totally distressed, frightened, panicked

I could hardly hear what she was saying thru the sobs - I was already waiting at the bus-stop, since she was unusally late and I was getting worried; but, sensible girl, she'd remembered all those talks we'd had when she was little more than a toddler - about stranger danger, and not getting in the cars of people offering you sweets or puppies but finding a mummy with children, or a policeman, or an "old lady" (anyone with more wrinkles than I have, basically, is "old" in her books) and she'd found a "nice old lady" with a mobile; and, more recently, when I discussed things that might go wrong on the journey - even tho she told me in no uncertain terms that she didn't need them and she'd be fine - when she'd discussed my idea of writing "emergency numbers" down in her school diary with her father, XCH had written some numbers out for her, in her jotter. . .
. . .except he'd written the wrong details besides the numbers, so she'd been phoning the wrong one (but reverse charges, in a phone box - clever girl). . .
eventually, totally overwhelmed by her growing panic that noone was answering the phone, she talked to a lady at the bus stop who lent her a mobile and Mini-Teen - my youngest, my smallest, my darling girl - called mine
which I answered - even tho I didn't recognise the number
so we talked, and I told her she'd done the right thing by finding someone to help her, and to try and calm down a little because now we'd made touch and it would all be alright, but I knew it was very scary and a horrible feeling but try not to worry, she'd done the right thing and it's going to be alright, I'm very proud of you for being so sensible, don't worry, try not to worry, everybody makes mistakes, no you're not silly it's just one of those things that happens, it feel awful but you're not lost you just don't know where you are but now I do and that's good, breathe a little, you'll be home soon and we'll have a huge hug and a lovely cuddle and then everything will feel better, let me talk to the nice old lady whose phone you're borrowing, yes she'd only just started at school, made a mistake, easily done, no the other end of the bus route, thank you yes please oh if you could get on the bus with her and bring her to me that would be fantastic, oh you are coming in this direction anyway well that's great, thank you so much for helping her, I'll be at the cinema bus stop and I'll get on the bus there, thank you so much, can I talk to her again, it's all right darling that nice lady is going to bring you back home, before you know it you'll recognise where you are and that will feel good, yes I'll go to the cinema and wait for you there, stay on the bus and don't get off with anyone else, I'll get on at the cinema, I know it feels dreadful but it's going to be fine now, it's going to be all right, try not to worry darling, everything is going to be alright, I love you sweetiepie
it's going to be alright
Mini-Teen got back safely and is now tucked up in her bed, in her home; I'm in The Tower, wishing I'd been able to cuddle her all night long


mig bardsley said...

Whenever I get a missed call from a number I don't recognise or worse, a number withheld, my first thought is 'one of the children might be in trouble'. (Yeah, those grown-up, left home children).
I have to say, reading this I found my little heart bumping away in sympathy with you both.
Well done the Mini-Teen. She did all the right things. And now she knows she can get help when she needs it and she'll make sure she's got those numbers organised.
Strength from adversity and all that.
((((((((((( I )))))))))))
Cos your little heart must have been doing overtime and a bit!

Mel said...

Holy moly... Good job! ALL the way around.

Calm in the face of the storm--fall apart later....
She's learned well cuz she's been well taught.

Breathe mom....ya done good.
And bless that kindly gal for the efforts to return her safe and sound.

katherine. said...

little life lessons.

thankful for the lady with wrinkles and a cell phone....and that MT did keep her head about her.

(tell her that two of us on the wrong bus in Washington last April...cause we were talking and not paying attention...and it took two cab rides and an hour to get back...)

very glad she got a hold of her mama to help sort it out....cuddle again tomorrow....

Rimshot said...

Sheesh! How traumatizing!

(and I don't even answer the phone when I DO recognize the number)

Steg said...

Well done MT for keeping her head and figuring out what best to do.

Tell her I once got on the wrong train and fell asleep, woke up hundreds of miles from where I should have been!

Never a dull moment when you've got kids, is there? :-)

Gordie said...

Good, story, happy story. Mistakes? We all make them. Learn to recover, learn how to get help.

Anonymous said...

What a great tale she'll have to tell, years from now, when it strikes her as funny.And what a good mother and Samaritan on the day.