Thursday, 11 August 2016

Quiet desperation

The day after we learned that younger daughter's school had winked out of existence, things got just a shade more surreal.

I was in a crosswalk, en route to meeting Demeter at the public library, when a series of frantic texts from the Resident Fan Boy started arriving.  I got to a safe place on the curb to decipher them:

Just got back from town.  Younger daughter has disappeared with the Accent Snob.  Didn't take her phone and left the door unlocked. Crap.

Panic at a three-thousand-mile distance is even more futile than hysteria at close quarters, so I aimed for a light and jocular tone:

Learning curve!  Do you want to look for her?  And take some poop bags?

Looks like I have no choice.  She often does this to let him out to pee.  Oh damn

Obviously that's what she intended this time.  So what happened?

She could be anywhere and now she'll come back to a locked door.  Oh God.

I decided a phone call was in order. The Resident Fan Boy, a Virgo who had just flown in from Victoria the night before (a twelve-hour journey due to glitches and delays), had decided that it was imperative that he get to a downtown bank to pay a bill.  He had informed younger daughter before going out.  He would have been gone about an hour.  When he returned, not only did he find both his daughter and his dog gone, he found her purse containing her house keys and phone, and also discovered the Accent Snob's harness hanging up, which meant that she had attached the lead to the collar. We do that only when letting him out for a quick spot of relief. The RFB was now pounding the pavement, but unsure of the direction to take.

Maintaining my outward calm, I reminded him that younger daughter is familiar with the house alarm, and advised him to return to the house and set it, if he couldn't lock the door.  I also told him to phone elder daughter, who had accompanied younger daughter on dog walks the previous summer and could advise him on possible routes.

Hanging up, I proceeded to the library for my rendezvous with Demeter, not daring to tell her what was going on three time zones away until I knew more.  When she set off in search of a book, I darted into the children's section, where I could watch for her return while phoning the RFB for an update.

"Nope, no sign of her."
"Could she have gone to the park?"
"For heaven's sake, she'd never go that far!"
"How long has she been gone?"
"I dunno!  Half an hour?  The thing is, she's obviously taken him out front for a pee ---- and something happened...."

Painful pause.  From my hiding place, I could see Demeter returning from the book check-out.

"I guess you'd better call 911, then.  Keep me posted."

I set off with my mother in search of a place to drink. Demeter was suddenly thirsty and undoubtedly puzzled and hurt by my short replies and lack of suggestions. I was imagining booking an early flight home, and fought to keep my mind free of other imaginings.

At a small cafe, I texted while Demeter picked up her lemonade. The Resident Fan Boy was describing younger daughter to the 911 operator, who was almost as relieved as the RFB when younger daughter walked with the Accent Snob.  

She had taken him to the park.

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