Getting my pants back on was a lot harder than getting them off had been. I was handicapped, with one hand chained to the rail in the Port-a-john. It was dark and stinky in there. I was fairly miserable.
Once I had my pants up and zipped, I sat on the toilet seat and proceeded to feel sorry for myself. Jill had been lost to us for days, and I’d thought I’d understood her fear, but I’d been wrong.
There are all different kinds of being lost. There is lost like when you are a kid and you can’t find your parents in the grocery store, but that’s an old kind of lost. Fewer and fewer children will experience that kind of lost, now that parents keep eagle eyes on them so they won’t be truly lost to the the soulless people who hunt children. When a kid is lost in the grocery store, the kid is scared, but the kid actually knows that Mommy and Daddy didn’t whisper, “Thank God, she’s lost in the frozen peas. Let’s go home.”
I’d gotten lost in Inwood Hill Park with Bethel, once. It had been late spring, and the vegetation had grown higher than every landmark. We’d wandered for hours in a maze of trees and grass. I’d been on the verge of panic when we’d popped out on a main path. Even that had been a silly lost, because someone would have found me if I’d been forced to overcome my embarrassment at yelling for help.
I’d been lost to myself plenty of times, but that wasn’t particularly scary because everybody else seemed to know where I was. That’s a scary kind of lost to other people, I suppose. But, I’d survived that and it happened less and less, as I got older.
I wasn’t as badly lost now as Jill had been lost, because we hadn’t had a clue of where to look for Jill. Jill must have known that we didn’t even know where to start looking. Jill had been lost to her friends and her family and everyone on earth, except for her captors. At least Moira and Mike had seen Trish drag me away. As frightened and hopeless as I felt, even with someone having a vague idea of where I was, I realized that my despair couldn’t hold a candle to the despair Jill must have felt. The thought pissed me off, because it made me feel guilty for feeling sorry for myself.
In the grip of conflicting emotions, I snuffled a little and wiggled my free arm out of my backpack strap. The backpack slid down my handcuffed arm and dangled from the chain. I dug out a can of Spam. Considered it in the dim light like Hamlet considering Yorick’s skull. Put it back. Even I couldn’t eat in that nasty place, and I can almost always eat.
I mentally ticked off the list of things I could occupy myself with. Peeing. Done. Feeling sorry for self. Done. Eating. Couldn’t do. It wasn’t a long list, and I’d gone through it already. I wondered whether I should yell for help and bang on the inside of my Port-a-john, but I was in the enemy’s camp, and I didn’t think it would do me much good.
I tried pacing, even though there was absolutely no room for it. I always pace when I’m nervous. I’m a terrific pacer. Unfortunately, a two step pace isn’t really pacing, and all of the spinning made me immediately dizzy.
We were running out of night. This couldn’t go on into daylight, the time when the birds ruled. We needed to rescue Jill, Kat, Kate, and me. I missed my dog. I couldn’t waste one more minute in this toilet. Fed up, I slammed the can of Spam into the Port-a-john door and screamed, “Help! Help! I’m trapped in this toilet!”
To my surprise, the door popped open immediately. I couldn’t made out the dark figure in the doorway, at first. I cowered back near the toilet, wondering if an angry guard was going to punch me for making a scene.
“Thank God you screamed,” the dark figure whispered, “I didn’t know which toilet to look in.” I recognized Homeless Lynn’s voice.