Cold and Alone


Augie O'Brien, Writer

Target. A big, beautiful horde of merchandise, goods, and products. It was also my mom’s favorite place to shop. This time, I had to go with her. I did not want to go. But I did since I was too young to be left at home, and she had nowhere else to put me for a simple shopping trip. So were got in the car. My brother was not with us since he was out doing something he did. It was about as normal as a car ride can be. No significant traffic, no trains stopping us, everything had been going smoothly, but not for long.

We got to the store, and we both got out of the car. Like the drive there, everything was normal. Normal Parking spot. Normal crowd. We walked in, and as usual, I smelled the smell. I cannot put my finger on what it is, but it is a particular smell that all targets have. We went to look at the Dollar section, a mess of bits and bobs, all for under a dollar. We looked to see if anything tickled our fancy. Nothing did, so we moved on.

My mom continued to look for things on her list: laundry detergent, some snacks for a party, new shoes, anything she needed. Nothing to keep an 8-year-old like me entertained for long. All my mom wanted to do was look. It felt like we went past every aisle every time my mom moved to a new thing on the list. Shoes? Let’s pass by toys, candy, Christmas, and every other aisle on the way. Card for my cousin? Pass by toys, candy, Christmas, and every aisle on the way. Again!

My young nerves were almost fried until I saw it. The video game section. It was everything I had ever wanted. Plump with Wii Us, Xbox ones, and Ps4s. The Vibrant colored packaging got my attention like that. But not my mom’s. She kept focused on the goal, otherwise known as the shopping list. I walked my short little legs right on over to the videogames. I guess I had not made any noise because she did not notice me leave. I did not see her leave me either. We were separated.

Being separated was not my problem, though. All I cared about was the in-store demos. 3Ds’s were sitting there. All for me to play. So, I did. And that is what I kept doing until I had a thought. I would love to have one of these. However, my financial situation was not great, being eight and all. So, I turn to ask my mom about sliding me a few 50-dollar bills so I could buy one. But to my surprise, she was not there.

I looked behind a shelf. Nothing. I looked in a few other aisles. Gone. I could not find my mom anywhere. My heart dropped, and the world stood still. My mom left me. The one person who was supposed to keep me safe and protect me had left me. My first instinct was that she did not love me anymore. She wanted to leave me behind and live her life without me. All my eight years of life had led up to this. I would die cold and alone in a target videogame section—what a way to go. But then something changed in me. I felt a Primal urge to survive and keep pushing. I would not die here. My ancestors fought too hard in their lives—the cavemen who fought Ancient beasts, The Ancient Relatives who braved the harsh environments of old, my great grandfathers who fought on destroyers in world war two. I could not end their bloodline. At least not today. I would find my mom, and she would still love me when I did.

I immediately started crying. The fear of being left alone overwhelmed me. So, I did the next rational thing. Once I stopped crying, that is. I walked out and into the central aisle of the store. I looked for my mom, but she was nowhere to be found. I looked for an employee—a bright red beacon of hope. Surely, they would know where my mom was. I turned a corner and found one. Like the drive there, she was surprisingly normal—normal height, normal hair, normal red shirt.

“Do you know where my mom is?” I spoke

“Excuse me?”

“Do you know where my mom is?” I repeated, louder this time.

“sorry, no. But I can help you look.”


so, looking we did. she called over the intercom looking for my mom.

“What was your name again?”


“Augie’s mom, please come to the front desk. Augie’s mom to the front desk.”

We went to the front desk as well to make sure that we would find my mom. I kept checking aisles, looking for her, but she was nowhere to be found. As we got to the front desk, she still was not there. And there we waited.

Finally, after what felt like an eternity, I looked up and saw her. My mom had finally come. I felt safe again. I immediately stood and ran at top speed to hug her. She hugged me back.

“You left me!” I cried

“No, you left me.”

“Nuh uh.”

“Yes. I would never leave you.”

“But you just did!”

“I thought you were with me. As soon as I noticed you were gone, I came looking for you.”


“Come on, we’ve got things to do.”

So, we left. My mom said thank you to the employee who had helped me, and we went to finish the shopping list. Once we had all of that, we went to the checkout and grabbed our bags. We got into the car and went home.

This time, I had to go with her. I wanted to go, and I did since I wanted to be with my mom after being left alone. So, we got in the car. My brother was not with us since he was still out doing something he did. It was about as normal as a car ride can be. No significant traffic, no trains stopping us, everything had been going smoothly, but then they did not. Now things were smooth again—just the way I wanted.