“Mommy can we go to the zoo today,” little Riley asked her mother with hopefull eyes.
Maggie looked at her five year old daughter for a
brief second before she answered, “I’m a bit busy today. Perhaps tomorow,”
Little Riley’s face fell with disapointment, “You promised mommy,” she said softly before she turned around and went to her room.
Maggie felt the guilt building up as she continued cleaning up the kitchen. Time seemed to be never enough. There was always something that needed cleaning or fixing. At the moment she was so busy with the household and the organizing of the church’s charity bazaar that she barely had time to drink a cup of tea. Riley just had to be patient for a while. It wasn’t as if the zoo was going anywhere. They could go tommorow or as soon as she was done with the bazaar.
A slight knock on the door interupted her thoughts. It was Ntabi, her nanny.
She was so thankfull that Ntabi could look after Riley when it was her day of that she thought about giving Ntabi a bonus to say thank you. Maggie left the house in a rush. There was a million things to do at the church grounds for the bazaar that was being held after the morning service the next day.
Later that night little Riley stood next to her mother for the second time that day with a beggar’s look in her beautifull little blue eyes, “Mommy can you come and read me a story please?”
“Not now honey. I’m tired and I still have a few things to do,” Maggie said without looking at her daughter.
“But mommy it will just take a moment…”
Maggie looked up impatiently, “I’ve said not now. Now go to sleep. Tomorow’s going to be a fun day,”
Little Riley looked at her mother for a few moments longer, longing for a hug or a kiss good night but she didn’t dare say anything. Mommy was working hard and it was very important. Riley turned around and went to bed without saying anything else.
The following afternoon Maggie was walking between the stalls ladden with delicious homemade jams and sweet mouth watering cakes. The bazaar was going to be a huge success. She couldn’t help but feel proud at what she has accomplished. The money that was being raised was going to the local orphanage that needed the funds urgently for much needed repairs to their buildings and houses.
“Maggie have you seen Riley?”Janet asked nervously. Maggie had trusted her with Riley’s care and somehow the little girl had wanderd off on her own despite the fact that Janet had kept a very close eye on her as she played with the other children from the sunday school.
Maggie felt her heart beating faster in her chest, “I thought she was with you,”
“She was but then mrs Thompson had commented on the trifles she had bought and when I looked again Riley wasn’t playing with her friends anymore,” Janet explained frightend, “I thought she might have gone to look for you,”
Maggie swallowed hard before she spoke again, “We better look for her and fast too. She can easily dissapear.”
Janet nodded in agreement as they both set of in search of little Riley.
Both Maggie and Janet had asked the people attending the bazaar if they had seen Riley but no one had.
Panic started to well up in Maggie as they kept on searching. Anything could happen to a little lost girl and the possiblities frightend Maggie. If anything bad had happened to Riley she would never forgive herself. What kind of mother loses her child at a church bazaar?
“Hey Maggie!” pastor Shepard called out as Riley was happily riding on his neck with a fist full of grey hair in her tiny little hands.
Maggie turned around and when she saw her little girl safely with their pastor she sighed deep with relieve.
“Where have you found her pastor?”she asked as she held out her arms to take her daughter, ” Janet and I have been searching everywhere,”
“I found her crying next to the ice-cream stall. She was looking for you,” pastor Shepard said as he looked at Maggie who was clutching little Riley. He could imagine how terrified Maggie must have been. The world was a wonderfull but dangerous place, especially for little kids who wandered.
Maggie thanked pastor Shepard for his kindness and she said a small prayer thanking God for protecting her little girl when she did not.
Maggie realized just then how important every little moment was she had with Riley. Just then she made a vow to herself to never ever take anything concerning her daughter for granted again.
That night she read stories untill Riley fell asleep and the following day she took of from work to take Riley to the zoo.