Where Did They Went?
Timmy snuggled under the covers. His baseball pajamas, fresh from the wash, felt soft and good. His fist held a small square of old baby blanket - Blankie, Timmy called it - close to his nose. He had sucked his thumb when he was a little kid and had always held his blanket to his nose when he did, but he doesn’t anymore - suck his thumb - so that when his loose tooth falls out, the Tooth Fairy will come while he sleeps to take it and will pay him a dime for it. A whole dime! But he still falls asleep with Blankie held close to his nose. It smells of him and of everything in his life, all the stuff he knows he knows. Which is comforting. ‘Cause there’s a lot he doesn’t know these days. And it worries him sometimes.
Like things big people say got lost but never where did they went. He lost a sock once. He does know what a sock is but where did it went? His Mom just shook her head and said, where lost socks go. He wondered where that was. He already asks lots of questions so he tries not to, but sometimes he’s just got to ‘cuz big people are so hard to figure. Like tonight. His Dad came home, not smiling or jokey like usual. His Mom asked what’s wrong and his Dad said he’d had a hard day. Well. Timmy knows hard. Doing things right is hard. Like peeing in the bowl not on the floor or putting his shoes on right and not wrong. Doing right is hard. If his Dad’s whole day had been hard it must’ve been bad and he felt sad, the way he felt for himself when stuff was hard and he didn’t get it right. But then his Mom asked, so what did you did? and his Dad said, I came home before I lost it, and then Timmy’d had to ask did he mean the hard day, and his Dad had said, no, Timmy, not the day, the whole ball of wax. Which was worse than before, ‘cause already, thinking about losing a day had made him feel sick and worried.
But then his Mom handed him to his Dad for a piggy-back ride, which made Timmy squeal and his Dad laugh in his belly and so things got good again and Timmy forgot for a bit. But then he’d remembered so at bath time he asked what was wax and his Mom said what candles are made of so Timmy asked why did they made a ball instead and his mother said, just ‘cuz, that’s why, which made Timmy giggle ‘cause that’s what he says whenever she asks him things like why are toads your favorite now or why do you always gulp your milk like that or why did you put the beets in your pocket - did you think I wouldn’t find them. Things with no easy or safe answer. So he forgot again. But he’s thinking about it now.
He pulls Blankie closer. He isn’t s’posed to call it that ‘cause that’s a baby word, but Blankie is the best buddy there is in his world, and when he thinks about the big people world, he needs it to be able to breathe in its familiar snuffy fuggy smell. He can tell his Mom is going put Blankie in the next wash. He always apologizes when that happens, saying his Mom must’ve thought Blankie needed a bath like Timmy does, only not so often. Big people can sometimes make sense of the world for him. Maybe lots of times. But other times, they make it awful and when he asks questions, it gets awfuller. Like his Mom saying she lost her parents. How did she did that? And where did they went? Why did big people say that they got losted? When he lost a mitten, it had went. But, once, on a Sunday ride, his Mom said they had got lost and Timmy had said, no, they were right there, and his brother said they’d lost their way, dummy, and Timmy had shut up ‘cause he didn’t know what a way was and besides he did know they were not lost ’cause there they all sat, but then later on his Mom had said the road they were on was pretty and she thought she liked this way better than the other way and his Dad and brother said they did too and then Timmy figured a way was what roads were called and he thought maybe he’d got one thing right. But then their cat had ran out one night and was out until morning and when she came in, his Mom said she guessed the neighbor’s tom cat had had his way with her, and that sure wasn’t what he’d thought a way was, so he just added it to his list of things said that didn’t make sense.
Then there was Dr. Larry. When his Mom took him to see Dr. Larry there were always lots of other kids there with their mothers and he’d asked his Mom who they were and she’d said they were Dr. Larry’s patients, which was a new word and Timmy tried to remember it and what the people looked like so he’d know for sure, but every time he went, there were different people there and he couldn’t remember them all and he worried about that until the time Dr. Larry got mad when he dropped his pen and said a bad word and later when Timmy asked his Mom what were wrong with Dr. Larry, she’d said, oh, he lost his temper and when Timmy asked why did he did that, she said he’d probably lost his patience,a nd glared at Timmy, so he hadn’t asked more questions, like, what’s a temper? But instead, he’d just felt sad for Dr. Larry and for all those people, sick kids too, ‘cause where did they went?
And if all the stuff he didn’t know about yet had went - like his sock - did he never get to know? Or were all the stuff and people still someplace and if so, please tell him where. Once his brother got a school book back from a Lost and Found. Were that where everything had went? Like Mom’s parents? And Dad’s ball of wax? And his aunt’s looks, which she said she’d lost but which wasn’t true ‘cause he still could see her. Or his grandma’s place in a cookbook she said she had lost. How had she gots’ed herself a place in a cookbook? And where had it went? Was his father’s lost temper in the Lost and Found? Or his grandpa’s lost mind? Timmy pulled Blankie closer and buried his nose in it and his head in the pillow. Maybe tomorrow he’d figure some more of it out. He could put his pajamas on right way round now. He could almost brush his teeth. He knew that a block was something he played with but was also something he lived on.
He wondered about when his brother’s team lost the game. He lost when he was playing tag. A lot. But he did not think he could lose the whole game. Or that anybody else could, either. Maybe tomorrow he’d try asking his brother. The worst that could happen was being called dummy. He wondered, when the lady at the store said she’d lost weight, had it went to the Lost and Found? Could anything that was lost be found? In his dream, Timmy played Hide and Seek until he got tired of always being It and took the game home with him and stuffed it in the way-back of his closet.