I was looking down at my feet as I walked down the cement path near a street. I checked my phone and saw that I had been walking for 41 minutes already. I decided to stop at the curb for a little bit to take out a bite to eat. I zipped open my duffel bag and took out an orange. I zipped it closed, sat down, placed the duffel bag on my side, and watched the cars pass by on the streets.
I often wondered about the people driving those cars. They all had their different stories and different experiences. Some of which could not be told for personal reasons. Every person had an event in their lives which impacted who they are today. Some people had really painful pasts and you would never really know how they felt at the moment. You would never understand a person's pain when they explain it to you. Only when the exact same thing happened to you, then you would understand.
I popped an orange slice into my mouth and giggled quietly as the juice dribbled down my chin. I wiped it off and began counting how many red cars passed by me. By the time I finished my orange, I had counted 7 red cars. Suddenly, I really needed to use the restroom. I looked around for a restaurant or a public restroom and my eyes landed on a McDonalds restaurant across the street.
I picked up my duffel bag and started walking towards it, crossing the road, and nearing the building. I opened the doors to McDonalds and I approached the smell of chicken nuggets and cheeseburgers. I observed everyone at the restaurant, secretly hoping that Justin was here. But he wasn't. I turned around and walked towards the restroom. I pushed open the door and entered the bathroom.
I could wash up here, I thought.
I placed my bag on the floor and entered a stall. I did my business and walked towards the sink to wash my hands. As I got a paper towel to dry my hands, I looked at the mirror and I saw a little girl standing behind me. I jumped and quickly looked back. She had curly, dark hair and big gray eyes and she had tears streaming down her face.
"Hey what's wrong? Are you lost?" I asked her, getting on my knees to approach her.
The little girl looked down and started shaking with sobs. I didn't know what to do to calm her down without knowing the reason why she was crying. So I did the only thing that came into my mind.
I picked the little girl up and rocked her in my arms like a baby. She was as light as a feather and her curly locks fell over her face, faintly brushing her forehead. I smiled at her pale eyes and how they looked up at me with sudden curiosity.
I began to sing a little lullaby that my mother used to sing to me when I was younger. I didn't have the best voice but hey, I tried.
When I finished the little tune, I sat down on the floor (dirty, I know) and placed her on my lap.
"What's wrong, little princess?" I asked her softly, wiping the tears off her rosy cheeks.
"My mommy," she whimpered.
"What about your mommy, darling?" I questioned.
"She left me here," she said, voice shaking.
"What? How?" I asked her, holding her a little tighter.
"She said she was going to go see Daddy and that she would bring him to me, and she told me to stay here. She has been gone for a long time," the little girl confessed.
Silent tears slid down her cheeks and she began to sob again. I didn't have a clue of how to help her. Her mother left her alone! In a restaurant!
"Do you know her phone number?" I asked her as I took out my phone from my back pocket.
Suddenly, the door of the bathroom opened and crushed my foot that was extended right behind the door. I cringed in pain, slightly yelling. In came a woman with the same gray eyes as the little girl. The woman saw me with the child on my lap.
"Piper!" the woman exclaimed and the little girl jumped off from my lap and jumped on her.
They hugged for a long time, Piper crying and her mother holding her tightly. Piper's mother looked up at me and smiled.
"Thank you so much!" she exclaimed.
"I didn't really do anything really except calm her down a bit," I grinned.
"I went to go pick up my husband from work, leaving Piper here because she was having so much fun on the playground, and I got stuck in traffic," she explained to me, fidgeting with the end of her shirt a lot as her eyes wandered everywhere.
Her eyes shouted, LIES.
But I didn't question her about it anymore. Piper grabbed her mom's hand and looked back at me. She let go, scurried over to me, and enveloped me in a warm hug. I watched as she backed away from me with a smile on her face, her gray eyes dancing with happiness.
"What's your name?" Piper asked me.
"My name is Joy," I replied.
"I like that name. Bye bye Joy," she grinned.
And just like that, I was left alone on the floor. I looked over at my foot and grimaced.
The lady forgot to say sorry for crushing my foot, I thought.
YOU ARE READING
Joy struggled to fight her demons. Soon, she can't take it anymore and she decides to runaway with the help of a special friend. She won't look back until she gets to her destination. The question: will she survive being a runaway?