Little brown eyes peeked around from behind the curtain.
“Betcha’ can’t find me!” The time had arrived for my youngest son to start his hide and seek ritual. I pretended the dark lump disfiguring the curtain couldn’t be seen.
“Where could little Marek be? Is he under the table…no. Is he behind the door? Wrong again. I think I know where he is!”
I rushed over and tickled the curtain. The hidden silhouette collapsed to the floor in a heap of giggles. Marek emerged from his cover and revealed a large smile.
“Mom, have you seen by ‘B’? I can’t find it anywhere.”
The ratty blanket had been my six year old’s companion for sometime. We had tried to talk Marek into giving it up but the blanket won out over the nighttime sobs.
“Have you lost it again? Maybe its time to let it live in the cedar chest with Mommy’s quilts since it keeps disappearing.”
“Not yet mom. I still like to sleep with it.”
“Well, I’m sure it will show up. Keep your eyes open and if you haven’t found it by bedtime I will help you.”
His worried eyes brightened at my promise but the phone rang demanding my attention.
“Hello? Oh, hi Sue... No, I haven’t made a decision about the job offer. My husband and I are still discussing it... I would be glad to let you know something by the end of the week... Okay…you have a good day too. Goodbye.”
My finger tapped the back of the receiver. Thoughts whirled with possibilities…extra money, a stimulating career, interacting with people again.
“Mom, come find me now!”
Marek interrupted my decision making process and curls of hair peeked from behind the bar stools.
“Are you behind the curtain again? Nope. How about inside the cabinet? Wrong again. Wait…I think I see some…”
I reached over and tugged on the unruly strands of hair.
“Ahh, you found me again.”
“Well, I have been playing this game a little longer than you.”
His laughter turned serious as he looked at me.
“Mom, are you going to start your kay-rear again?” I struggled to stifle my giggle at his pronunciation.
“That would be career and Daddy and I are still thinking about it.”
“Can I come with you to work?” The question I contemplated everyday hung between us.
“No, I am afraid you would have to go to school and then grandma would keep you for a few hours until I could pick you up.”
He watched his hands tug at his shoe laces. “Well, why do you want to go to work?”
“It would be fulfilling and a way to earn extra money.”
“Would we still get to play hide and seek?” Worry crinkled the lines in his forehead as he scrunched up his nose.
“Oh…I wouldn’t miss playing hide and seek with you for the world.”
“Great! I am going to go find the best hiding place and you won’t be able to find me this time.”
Marek ran from the room and the pink streaks in the sky announced it was time to prepare dinner. After half an hour of peeling carrots and slicing potatoes, I realized I had never heard the hide and seek trumpet call. The carpet muffled my steps like an Indian hunting in the forest. I searched his bedroom, no sign of Marek. Darkness filled the bathroom and without his blanket, he would never go in there. I proceeded to the master suite and found a new hump under my bedspread.
“Where is Marek?” Could he be in my closet? Nope, not there. How about under my bed?” Wrong again.”
I peeled back the covers and found him curled up asleep with his ratty blanket snuggled close. I sat on the bed and fingered his curls. The answering machine picked up a call.
“Natasha, this is Sue again. We have decided to offer you another five thousand a year and believe this will convince you to take the job. We are looking forward to working with you.”
I eyed the phone. Wrong again.
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