it’s 5pm, do you care where your kids are?

It’s 4:40pm. I’m in a practice room sightreading before playing a vocal studio at 5. Out in the hall I hear voices and screaming toddlers. Not the “screaming in pain, need, or annoyance” kind, the “yelling at the top of their lungs for the fun of it” kind. Super.

So 4:50 rolls around and I organize my things and step out into the hall. In the next room, behind a cracked door, I hear the voices. Then from around the corner, the shrieks. I turn left toward my locker. From behind me comes, “LOOK! IT’S SNOWING! LOOK!” Yeah, I wish. Tropical storms don’t snow. Then: “LOOK! SNOW! LOOK!” And I realize, since they’re nobody else around, the voice is yelling to me. I glance over at these two girls, I’m guessing three and four years old. The older one is standing over a pile of hole-punch dots on the floor. “Snow.”

I start walking down the corridor towards them, approaching the main hallway, and the younger one positions herself in the exact center of the hallway, right in my path, wearing a huge grin. I say, “Excuse me, can I pass?” She nods and moves aside. I don’t even know these kids.

I round the corner and they follow me. The youngest one succeeds in touching me a few times, making a move like she’s going to hug my leg. I ask them where their mother is, and the older one tells me she’s talking to their teacher, in the room I originally passed. I tell them to go find her, which they ignore. About halfway down the 200-foot corridor, at the point they should have reasonably turned back, I wonder exactly how far they’ll follow me.

Well, they followed me to the elevator. I join another girl waiting for it, and the children are practically on top of me. I’m trying to shoo them away, wondering where the hell their “mother” is. Mercifully, the elevator comes, and as I enter, the kids try to follow me. I turn around and yell at them as the door starts to close. “No! You can’t come in here, go away!” The older one pouts, whines, and makes a move to stop the door, and my companion looks shocked.

When the door finally closes, she turns to me:
“They’re not yours?”
“No! They’re just following me!”
“I was wondering about that! Because you looked too young to have kids (bless her,) but they were following you.”
“Yep, their mother is at the other end of the hall ignoring them.”

Good thing I’m not a kidnapper.

(EDIT: Now, for a good laugh, re-read it, substituting “velociraptor(s)” every time you read “kid(s)”.)

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