One day Mother took Nanku shopping. They went to a large mall with many stores. Mother was busy looking for clothes and such for herself while Nanku followed along. As usual, the boy was polite and quiet and stayed near to Mother.
As Mother looked through racks of clothes in search for the perfect garment, Nanku began to recall the comforting trees of his youth. The longing for freedom and adventure swelled in his spirit as the racks of clothes began to appear like the woods of his origin.
With Mother preoccupied with her shopping, Nanku allowed his imagination to transport him to the wild where he was free. He moved between the racks as though they were the trees he knew so well. Suddenly he felt free again. Untethered he was an adventurer once more one with nature.
In his mind he chased bunnies and butterflies under the protective canopy of his forest home. The worries of the world melted away. His spirit soared as he crawled between shirts into a protective glade. There he sat and rested in the peace of solitude and security. Nanku closed his eyes and felt safe for the first time since he left the woods.
Mother did not notice that Nanku was no longer following behind her. She continued her shopping and even made a purchase and left the store.
Eventually Nanku emerged from his make believe sanctuary and looked for Mother. She was nowhere to be found. Nanku froze, worried that he was abandoned. He did not know where Mother was nor did he know where he was. He stood at the front of the store and just held still. His heart raced but his body was paralyzed.
A security guard saw the small Nanku standing alone in front of the store.
“Are you lost little boy?” The security guard asked.
“I don’t know where my mother went. She was shopping but I was playing and she left,” Nanku cried.
“It’s ok, you’re safe with me,” the security guard reached out his hand and took Nanku’s. They began to walk down the mall looking for Mother.
Nanku breathed deeply and swallowed his tears as he walked with the security guard in the hopes of finding Mother.
Not long after, Nanku spotted mother walking frantically with panic in her eyes.
“Nanku!” Mother cried. “Where have you been you bad boy!”
“Is this your mother?” Asked the security guard.
“Yes,” he whispered.
“Why did you leave me?” Mother asked as she gripped his shoulders and spoke Nanku.
“I didn’t. I was playing in the store and you left me,” Nanku explained as he looked at his feet.
“I didn’t leave you!” Mother exclaimed. “You were supposed to stay with me. I was busy shopping and didn’t have time to keep track of you. You bad boy, you didn’t do what I told you.”
“I’m sorry Mother,” mumbled Nanku. “I didn’t mean to get lost. I was just playing.”
“Well don’t let it happen again. You never know who would hurt you. It isn’t safe.”
That day Nanku learned that playing make believe was dangerous. His longing for the freedom of his youth caused Mother to abandon him.