I just came back from my daily walk, and had one of those rare visceral experiences that remind me why I look at most parents these days with disgust.
Across the street ahead, i saw a little yellow flash and then saw that it was a child. She was wearing yellow footie pajamas and had blond hair and a dirty face. Cute as could be. Not more than two years old.But then I noticed she was out on the sidewalk by herself.
And then i noticed she was walking into the street. Alone.
And then i turned and saw the car coming around the corner.
I sprinted into the street, hoping like hell the car would see me in time. I was a bigger target than that little girl. I scooped her up into my arms and hopped onto the curb to the sound of screeching brakes. Relieved, that’s when my heart began to pound.
Mommy lifted her head out of the open door of a car in the nearby parking lot. She saw me walking toward her, carrying the little girl.
“Oh my god!” she said. “I thought you were right behind me.” She came around the car.
I put the child down and said, “Well, she wasn’t. She was in the street. She nearly got hit.”
I could see that she knew I wanted to pop her in the mouth. Or better yet, call child protective services.
She thanked me profusely and I continued my walk, feeling the awful might-have-been tragic fantasy developing in my head. My daily walk has now taken on a whole new meaning. I will now be watching the streets for wandering toddlers with crappy parents.