Thursday, September 26, 2013

Left Behind

My husband wanders like a puppy tracking fresh scents.  He disappears  while touring, hiking or biking, not to mention shopping. He slips away without saying a word. As soon as I realize he's not beside me my head swivels to catch a glimpse of him. I sidle through the crowd to spot him down an aisle.

Once I gave up the wild goose chase and paged him. He didn't respond and a quarter hour later I found him outside on a bench. Now I keep him at my side in Wal-Mart. Actually, now I won't even go to Wal-Mart with him.

Most outings include someone asking "Where's Bill?"  It's become a joke. 

Except for when I find it irritating. When I'm in a hurry, it's aggravating.  And when we travel, his vanishing act is distressing.  We chronicle these events in family lore as the (almost) left behind series. 
They've never been the disaster I direly predict. In fact, most of them are funny. After the fact.      

Once our family vacationed in Hawaii. In Honolulu we rode public buses to Sea World.  As the self-designated tour guide for our family I had  the bus schedule and a paper map to track our transfer points. Returning, we were the first passengers to reboard at Sea World. Bill settled in the back of the empty bus where he claimed he could see better. I told him to keep an eye on us because I feel more secure sitting near the driver. The kids and I sat opposite the center exit door.

photo by martin, flickr 
The bus took on passengers until it was more crowded than a tropical fish tank. People were elbow to hip in the aisles and my two girls and I were jammed into one seat. 

The transfer point loomed. One daughter pulled the yellow cord to indicate a stop. I nudged and prodded the way to the stairs like an ice breaker through a frozen river. Passengers pressed in our wake to fill the space. 

Mexico City, photo from EMBARQ 

The bus stopped. We jumped off but Bill was still inside the bus. As it pulled away he stood on the bottom step, legs spread, hands pressed against the glass. The three of us watched from the sidewalk.

He got off at the next stop and made his way to us before our connecting bus came. 

I was annoyed. Surely, I thought, he’ll pay more attention in the future. The incident didn't worry him. Ramblers are as enchanted with the journey as the destination. 

If you know a straggler, share one of your near misses to include in the Left Behind series. 

* The title is a reference to a series of apocalyptic novels I didn’t read. Apparently Christians are snatched from earth, and the rest are left behind.


  1. Bill and my husband, Charles, must be clones! You're right - Walmart is the worst. He loves to disappear while I'm talking to him. At some point I look around to see strange looks from people watching me talk to myself.
    At least he's over 6 ft tall so I can usually see his head over the shelves on the aisles.

    1. Sherry, thanks for the confirmation. I knew Bill wasn't the only one!


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