My mother saw him first.
“Look at that cute, little chocolate drop. He’s got to go to the bathroom so bad he’s dancing outside the bathroom door,” she said chuckling.
I didn’t try to follow her gaze, my poor eyesight made it a futile effort, but I visualized a little boy doing a “pee-pee” dance in the narrow train corridor leading to the bathrooms and chuckled, too.
I drifted back into quiet thought while enjoying the scenic view of the changing landscape outside my window on a slow train ride to Austin, Texas, for the Thanksgiving holiday. Suddenly, the door to our lower berth compartment slid open framing a little boy, an adorable chocolate drop, dressed in blue jeans, a t-shirt and athletic sneakers and sporting a curly Mohawk haircut. I knew instantly he was the little boy who had been doing the “pee-pee” dance in the corridor.
“My brother is stuck in the bathroom. He can’t open the door,” he announced trusting as children do that someone would come to his aid. He was right. I immediately jumped to my feet and walked over to him.
“Well, young man let’s go see what we can do to help,” I said patting him on the shoulder reassuringly.
The little boy led me down the corridor to the bathroom where his brother was trapped. The boy was pounding on the door and fidgeting with the latch trying to open it.
“Hello, young man,” I said to him through the door, “We are going to get you out of that bathroom in a jiffy. First, I need you to slide the door latch to the left, in the direction away from you”
He did as I instructed.
“Now pull on the door,” I shouted.
He pulled on the door handle but nothing happened.
‘Okay, now I want you to slide the door latch to the right, in the direction toward you,” I said.
Again, he did as I instructed.
“Sweetie, pull on the door,” I shouted.
This time the door opened and standing before me was a boy who was a slightly taller version of his little brother. The two boys embraced each other clearly relieved the ordeal was over.
“I was really scared, “ the older boy said to me, “I kept trying to open the door but I couldn’t get it open.”
He was still a bit shaken-up by the incident and I wanted him to know I thought he had conducted himself quite bravely under the circumstances.
“Well the important thing to remember is you didn’t give up,” I said to him, “You were the one who figured out how to open the door in the end.”
The boy’s face lit up and he gave me a big, toothy grin. The three of us walked back down the corridor and said our goodbyes at the stairwell leading to the upper berth compartments.
As I walked away, the younger boy gently touched my hand. I turned around and found him looking up at me with a serious expression on his face. Then speaking with the wisdom of a King Solomon he said, “You always need a Mom.”
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