The other day I took the kids the park, as I often do when Donnie has an all-day volleyball function. It was nice day and I’d had enough of the indoor rough-housing.
We packed up and drove to the nearest park. The kids love the playground. It’s got all these new types of play equipment and soft, track-like material to land on so as to avoid severe boo-boos. We pulled up to the fenced-in play area. The parking lot was full. Kids were climbing over kids to get on the ladder to the slide.
I sighed, “Let’s go to the other playground.” To avoid the crying, whining and “why?,” I followed up with an overly enthusiastic, “You can feed the ducks!” They complied, not matching my enthusiasm.
We drove to the other side of the park. The side I refer to as the “old part.” It was a ghost town. The equipment was a little outdated and there was more than a slight chance that Logan would break his arm on the monkey bars.
Then there’s the “metal slide of terror.” I remember it from my childhood. The ladder is so steep that if you get too close, your face is in the butt of the person standing up two rungs. Once you’re at the top, you get the slight feeling that you may hurl your body over the tiny metal bar and crash into the poorly maintained, sparse grass below. But before you can think about it too much, you’re pushed down the slide by the kid directly behind you. Apparently he was tired of having your butt in his face. My kids LOVE this slide.
I was trying not to let my anxiety get the better of me as I watched Anya take my precious little baby Riley up the slide for about the 10th time. Suddenly, I heard someone standing behind me whispering, “Don’t turn around.” I perk up.
Are they talking to me? I turn around. Because when someone says “Don’t turn around,” every fiber of my being wants to turn around. I HAVE TO TURN AROUND.
I see a woman holding a gun-metal gray… well… gun. She says, “Dammit. I said don’t turn around. Are you stupid?” Slightly insulted by being called stupid and slightly annoyed at the fact that she didn’t tell me she had a gun before she said “don’t turn around,” I started shaking. My eyes darted to my kids. At the top of slide. It’s the only time I’d ever considered that a safe spot. Acting like she didn’t notice me looking at the slide, she said, “Get in the van.”
I screamed, “ANYA! RUN!”
The woman shoved me in the back of a windowless van. Why do they even make those? It’s like they’re asking for them to be used as kidnapping vehicles.
Anya grabbed Riley and Logan and they all 3 ran toward the nearest QuikTrip. It was about 1 mile away. I run all their possible scenarios in my head. When they get to QT, Anya will call… Wait. Who will she call? She only knows my number?! And 911. Yeah. She’ll call 911. Probably.
I pop up in bed. A dream. A very vivid dream.
Two hours later, I’m sitting at the table with the family eating sausage and eggs, “You know, Donnie, the kids should probably learn your number too. Not just mine.”
Donnie replied, “That was random.”