I was a good kid. I was a calm and peaceful toddler. Always. Except that time when I decided to explore the city on my own, at the age of five. And I managed to brag drag my grandfather with me.
I have no siblings so I was always kind of forced to play with kids I didn’t know well. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t some kind of weirdo who hated other kids. It’s just that kids are so unpredictable. And I would always get frustrated when I couldn’t figure out their next move. All I wanted was to play alone with my Barbies & Kens. Aw, let’s not forget about my Barbie’s shiny horses, babies, pink dresses, big plastic house bought for me in Germany. Side note, all my toys came to me from foreign lands because in Poland, in the late 80’s, the only thing my parents could buy me was some creepy Soviet child book called Nu, pogodi!.
Anyway back to the story, my mother was very into me socializing with other kids and she used to make me go down to the yard and get dirty in the sandpit with them. Of course, lucky that Barbies were not allowed to leave the house in order that they weren’t stolen. I know, I know….selfish. But you see, it’s very likely that my parents could have bought a new car if they had sold all of my German / American girly toys.
With the benefit of hindsight I can understand what pushed me to take the leap and start wandering around the city. A 5 year-old sick of digging in sand, which by the way smelled like cat’s piss, and bored with luxurious plastic doll life needed something more in her own life. And she already figured out what it was…..Any kind of sweets, excitement and doing things on her own ( read: being a careless stubborn adventurer).
So one day my grandpa fit perfectly in my plan. To be honest with you, I have no idea how I persuaded him to go downtown with me to the city, buy me an ice cream, wandering the city a little bit and not say a word to my mum. But I did realize, still with that big happy smile on my face and cheeks red with excitement, that it wasn’t a well prepared plan of mine when I spotted my mum running like crazy in our direction with a bunch of neighbors and two policemen. At first I was sure it was because of the chocolate ice cream stain I had left on my strawberry red dress just a couple minutes ago. But it wasn’t. I remember my mother waving her hands in anger. I remember the piercing screams of people who gathered around us. And me being dragged with force by my arm to the house.
It was one of those emblematic moments in my life. I am sure I wasn’t aware of what just happened and why I (and my poor grandpa) was being punished by a crazy version of my mother but I would certainly never go anywhere without making sure my mum was informed with the basic information beforehand.
But here’s the thing, I wasn’t sorry for what happened. I felt so good about getting everything I wanted: sweet chocolate-flavored treat and an exciting adventures sprinkled with a bit of drama. I am pretty sure, in that point of my life I already knew I will wander more and far, far away. And that I will be eating my way through newly discovered lands.
I am pretty sure too that my mum realized the same thing at that very moment. And ever since she would fear for me when I’m away from home. I am sorry for her damaged nerves but it’s kind of sweet, isn’t it?