Her maternal instincts overwhelmed her as she observed the young boy in the park. It seemed his parents were absent, along with numerous other adults. She came here everyday to get out of the office and have lunch. In this particular instance she felt drawn to this boy, him being obviously too small to be here alone. He was playing in muted tones, as if speaking to an imaginary friend. She continued to watch him and feelings of compassion amassed in her being. She wanted to take him home, nestle him in a warm bed, care for and feed him, like a stray animal.
Marion loved animals and in her eyes, this woebegone child was comparable to an abandoned pet. She did not want to leave him there alone. Her own loneliness caused her to think irrationally, not realizing her intentions could be deleterious to the child. She decided to approach him, offering a bottled water, thinking he must be parched in the heat of the day. As she stepped closer, he looked up at her. She extended the bottle and he was about to take it, when a shrill voice interrupted the otherwise quiet scene.
“What are you doing? Get away from my son!” A woman carrying a toddler in one arm came running toward them. Marion stepped back in surprise. The boy’s mother grabbed his arm with her other hand and yanked him up off the ground. “Who do you think you are? These are my children” she yelled, adding in an acerbic tone, “get your own kids!” The woman strode off, crying toddler and small boy in hand.
Marion was stunned. It was if she had been in a dream, letting the boy’s imagined abandonment take over reality. Marion packed the bottle back in her bag and returned to the office.