She felt desperate to get out but there was no one around; nobody to accompany her anywhere. She only really knew one or two people and everything was still very new and unfamiliar. So much to learn: but she was learning fast.
Her knees slowly sank into the small mat that offered some cushioning against the hard floor as she gazed solemnly at the grey bars imprisoning her. She carefully curled both hands around the cold metal beams as if they were as delicate as daisy stalks, and rested her forehead against her outstretched arms. She knew there was no point in trying to shake the bars; she’d tried it before but there was no give anywhere. That’s when it had dawned on her, that she really was truly helpless.
How had she ended up in here? How long had it been? One hour? Three? She simply couldn’t judge it and instead, began pondering the whole meaning of time but her thoughts quickly tangled.
She could remember being offered something to eat before being stripped down, splashed with water and redressed in different clothing. There had been a lot of background noise; the bustle of strangers coming and going, but now there was nothing but unnerving quiet. Even the drumming of raindrops had stopped. She missed its comforting rhythm. She realised her possessions were missing too. They weren’t worth much but those few small items had been precious to her.
Grief, loss and loneliness swirled ever quicker and untamed within, came bursting forth as deafening wails of frustration and anger.
She could hear footsteps between each pause of breath, and her name; her name was being called. She wanted desperately to shout ‘I’m here, I’m over here!’ but her tongue failed to forge the simple words trapped in her mind and so she continued to scream.
On the other side of the bars, a door she’d forgotten about began to open. She held her breath and squinted through the distorting tears at the figure walking directly towards her.
She raised her arms in anticipation.
Soft, sweet-smelling hair dangled down over her face, tickling her nose. She couldn’t help but giggle as her mother leaned over the top of the playpen, lifting her out and into a comforting embrace.
“Deary me, I’ve only been gone five minutes. Oh look, it’s stopped raining! Shall we go and feed the ducks?”
Ducks. She knew about ducks.
“Quack, quack,” she replied contentedly, delighting her mother.