|I always told my annoying little brother to stay close to me whenever we are in public. I never lost him before. On a hot Memphis day in July, our church took a bus full of children to the historic National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. I was about 11 years old and my brother was five.
I saw this trip as an opportunity to hang out with my friends, not to baby-sit this brat who has magic legs.
“He’s your little brother, you’re all he has and he looks up to you,” my mom said.
“Yeah right,” I replied.
As we got to the ticket booth, he ran out of line! I managed to run and grab his left hand which appeared to be sticky all of the sudden. I looked a few feet away and there was a candy wrapper with smeared chocolate all over it on the ground. How aggravating! When we got our tickets from the church counselor, I hauled my brother to the bathroom to wash his hands. As we left the bathroom, the counselor wanted to divide the kids by age group during the museum tour. Looking at the other groups ahead of us, I knew this would be a long tour.
I sighed and kneeled down to my brother and said, “Please don’t get lost and stay with your group, okay?”
He smiled and said “Okay!” He jumped in excitement and went with his age group. I told myself that even if he’s out of my protection, I need to try to keep an eye on him.
About an hour later, my age group was looking at the sanitation workers’ strike display. I looked over and saw the five-to-seven-year-old group at the Lorraine Motel room display in front of us, but I did not see my brother. I felt a rumble at the pit of my stomach and my temperature felt like it went up 10 degrees. I jumped out of line in a panic to find him. I never lost him before. I looked around the entire second floor and he was no where to be found. I took the stairs back down to the first floor and my heart began to beat normally. There he was, sitting in a chair in the gift shop crying. I stared at him for a second, and then walked towards him. When he saw me, he ran to me and hugged me, which was something he never did before.
I assured him that everything is going to be fine and he looked up at me and said, “I got lost because you weren’t with me.”
I stood back and smiled at him. I had no idea how much of an impact I had in his life that hasn’t really begun yet at the age of five. He started to wipe his eyes with his sleeve.
I took his tiny hand and said, “Come on, let’s go finish the tour.”
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