I was very young. I must have been about seven years of age or five. I can’t remember right now. I had gone to the zoo with some aunts and cousins. After the zoo, we were going to the bus—this was in El Salvador. I was following my sister and cousin. Both were six years older than me. They were walking in front of me. I noticed they had begun to walk in a different way, to swing their hips more. I thought they were doing that because boys like it. I thought it was part of the human game. See, I didn’t realize then that I kept looking at the adults as someone would look at animals in the zoo: “These are their mating habits. These are the things they do when they lie. These are the things they do when they want to be liked.” Then, the girls turned a corner, and I followed them. On the sidewalk, there were two tables used by street vendors to offer such goodies as sweet breads and drinks. They were still setting up. My sister and cousin walked between the two tables, and I followed. I pulled myself up with my hands on the tables, and I swung myself playfully, and I came down. And when I came down, the people were not there. The street seemed the same, but no one was at the tables, and there was no food on them. All was quiet. There was an absence of smell, and everything had a buzz to it. And I turned around. There were very few people, and I ran to the corner to catch up with my cousins and aunt, but they were not there. There were some very old cars, not the type I used to see. And then I returned to the tables and I tried to do the same thing again; and, no, I was stuck there.
Something in me thought, I’m lost. I’ve gone to another place again. I looked at the street, and it went on and on for a while, and I said to myself, this is the way back home; if I walk down this path, I will get home, if don’t deviate from it.
I started walking on that strange street. Then, I saw a police officer; and when you are in those spaces in that world, uniformed personnel give you directions. He was standing in the middle of the street, but it didn’t seem odd. “Excuse me. I’m lost,” I told him.
He said, “You are not lost; if you were lost, you would be panicking and crying.”
“Well, I’m lost because I don’t know how to get back home.”
“Where is home?” he asked.
I said, “I live with the humans in Colonia Zacamil.”
So he smiled and said, “Come with me.” He took me to a bus; the door of the bus was opened. This bus was like in England, on the wrong side of the street, but I still entered through the right side from the street. He said to the driver, “This boy needs to get back home to the humans. Can you tell him when he’s there?”
He said, “Sure.” He didn’t ask where. He just drove. The scenery began to change. Slowly there was more dirt, sun, and more noise. The smells came back.
He asked, “You know how to get home from here?,” stoping the bus in front of the bus stop down the path to my house.
I said, “Yes, I do,” and I did. That was the first time I got lost, and then I started to get lost very often. I shifted the assemblage point by mistake at first.
When I got home, I told my mom what happened, and then I hid when my aunt showed up. My aunt was pale. She was worried. She reported we were all together, we were crossing the street, and then everyone crossed the street and I was not on the other side. She looked everywhere and couldn’t find me. Eventually she went home and told my mom. As she was telling my mom and my mom was calmly telling her, “Well, I don’t know, but you’re going to have to go back and find him,” and my aunt realized by my mother’s calm and dismissive demeanor that I was actually there and not lost, I sprung from behind the couch and pounced at her happily, hearing the bells of her happy laugh and cuddled in the warmth of her embrace under the all touching love of my mother’s smile.