There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my daughter. Her birth was a blessing to me, and blessings are her birthright. Don’t get me wrong; we know that the better part of good luck is really just hard work. Sometimes she struggles with that; she doesn’t really understand, but I have to be patient. After all, she is only four and a half.
Like just today I was running late and she wasn’t helping. I’d sent her upstairs to find my glasses but she got distracted with a doll on the landing. I was desperate, not because I was late, but because of the principle. Maintaining focus is critically important in life – more so when you are a child and you are so vulnerable. In the end I found the glasses in the laundry room leading to the garage; so, that crisis was averted, but the principle got us off to a bad start. I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost her, and that’s why it’s important that she learn the importance of clear thinking and focus.
This isn’t an idle fear. Time and again you hear about abductions in the media. I know the media tends to sensationalize things, but the fact remains that evil is all around us and children do go missing.
Hello, my love…Oh, Caroline; I thought you were Trevor. Where is he?…Did you tell him it was important?…I know it’s not your fault; I don’t care if he is now in a meeting. He wasn’t in a meeting when I called…Look, just make sure he calls me as soon as possible. The contractor needs him to sign off. Thanks. [Hangs up]
Sorry. There was a time about a year ago. We were in the mall and Vicki was standing off to the side while I tried on a dress in Max Azaria (sic). Or no, it couldn’t have been; Macy’s doesn’t carry him and I’m pretty sure it was Macy’s. Anyway, while I was in front of the 3-way mirror, she got away. I don’t know how long I was concentrating on the mirror – it couldn’t have been more than ten seconds…maybe twenty – but when I turned back to where she had been she was nowhere to be seen. I rushed around the carousels, calling her name, but my instincts told me to head for the door, which was only about twenty yards down an adjacent corridor.
[A child’s voice – indistinguishable]
Not now, Darling. Mama’s busy. Please take Mr. Bunny up to Lammie…and stay out of the cabinets. Make sure everything is put away in the playroom. I’ll be up to check on you when I’m done here.
Where was I? Oh, yes, it’s amazing how quickly hysteria can take hold in these moments. I remember frantically querying strangers as I rushed for the door. I must have seemed like a maniac. The last person I encountered was a sales assistant – where was she when I was trying to find the right size? – and I barked a description of Vicki: four years old; this high; mousey hair; pink and yellow sun dress; white socks with frills. And then I hit the noise of the mall, setting off the store alarm because I was still wearing the dress.
In these moments nothing else matters. Everything I looked at was in sharp detail. I scanned the cappuccino bar, the large bags and bar stool legs. I measured the degree of threat or absence in the eyes of probably sixty people: eager lovers, tired couples, cash-strapped compromisers, bumpkins in town for the day, mothers like me, and a sea of homogenous look-alikes. I could rely on no one, but I needed everyone to stop their meaningless meandering and to tell me where my daughter was. I discounted probably three children bearing some similarity to Vicki, and dreaded to see her disappearing round a corner, holding some monster’s hand.
All this happened in a flash because I only got as far as Banana Republic, two stores down, before two sales assistants from Macy’s and a mall cop stopped me. At first I was having nothing of their trivial BS, but the cop was already talking on his walkie-talkie, assuring me that he had put out a message to the security department who were then surveying the whole mall on cameras. He said it would be better if I returned to Macy’s to help with a more thorough search there, where I could also give him a better description of her, and I was technically in possession of a stolen dress. Do you believe it?
Anyway, when we got back to ladies’ wear, there was Vicki with a sales assistant, standing right where I’d last seen her. Poor thing was scared stiff. I don’t suppose I made it any better by my wretched appearance. It’s not easy to claw your way back from madness, and I was definitely crazy with panic.
A long story made short, you can never be too safe. You must always be on guard; so, when I heard about the GPS implant, I said to Trevor we should look into it. He wasn’t keen. He had most of the normal concerns: hurting Vicki, infections, leakage, radiation. In fact he wanted nothing to do with it, but I persisted.
I’ve been very pleased with the research and the assurances Locagenics has provided. The transmitter is very tiny, a little over an inch long and about as thick as a medium knitting needle. It’s encased in silicone. A cosmetic surgeon does the implanting, and the device is positioned behind the collarbone, so there isn’t any unsightly bulge – even on a child as small as Vicki. Radiation fears are unfounded, as I’m told the signal is too weak to be a danger. We spend our lives immersed in a fog of radiation, what with our TVs, cell phones, remote controls and wireless networks. No, the potential benefits are just too great. We go in on Thursday.
Trevor? No, he left me to do the research. The appointment was spur of the moment. I’ll tell him once I’m sure it’s working out. If I said nothing, he probably wouldn’t even notice. I can’t remember the last time he dressed his daughter. He’s so busy. We rarely see him, what with his work and my commitments: yoga, fundraisers, tennis. Maybe I’ll tell him. Why rock the boat?
Damn it, I wish he’d call.
The preceding is a transcript from a tape submitted by freelance correspondent, Sophie Oedekerk. Sophie lives and works in the city of Yellowknife in Northern Canada