I thought this would never happen again, but yesterday, I lost Kate at Barnes & Noble. On the way back from lunch, I suggested we stop there and get something to drink. Kate wanted to go to the restroom, so I led her there. She was close behind me until I turned right before the hallway where the restrooms are located. I turned around to point to the ladies room door, and she wasn’t there.
Figuring that she hadn’t seen me make the turn, I started looking around the bookstore. I didn’t find her anyplace. I told one of the staff that I had lost her and gave her a description in case she saw her. Then I saw two women walking in the direction of the restrooms and asked if they were going there. They said they were, and I told them about Kate, gave them her name, and described what she was wearing. They came right out and said she was not in there.
The restrooms are in the back part of Barnes & Noble near the exit to the mall. In fact, the exit is about 10-12 feet straight ahead from where I had turned toward the restrooms. I decided to look in Belk’s which is a short distance from there. . I didn’t go through the entire store, but I didn’t see any sign of her and went back to the bookstore where I found the two women with whom I had spoken earlier. They had been looking around Barnes & Noble and hadn’t found her. I decided to check with the store about contacting security. They did that for me.
Two security officers arrived. I showed them a picture of Kate and described what she was wearing. They asked me to stay put, and they would look in Belk’s and around the outside of the mall. About 10 minutes later, I received a phone call that they had found her. She was in Belk’s. In a few minutes, they were back at Barnes & Noble.
Kate did not seem panicked at all, but she was relieved to see me. In each of the other instances in which she has been lost, she has been very calm and even joked about the situation. That did not occur today. I suspect that may be because her memory is so bad now that she had absolutely no idea where she was and, of course, no way to find me. She probably didn’t remember we had been in Barnes & Noble. It is impossible for me to fully grasp what she might have been thinking or feeling. I know we were both relieved. She had been missing between 20 and 30 minutes. I am just glad we were in a place where it was unlikely for her to have gone far. The possibility of losing her is one of the reasons we have stopped our major travel. This experience reinforces my belief that that was a good idea.