For Paul and Renee. Happy birthday, twins.
I am seeking.
Because, you know, it’s fair to make me seek while the eighteen-year-old twins, Paul and Renee, and the four-year-old Jacob hide. Where is Josh? Reading a book, probably. Taking apart a VCR. Building a radio station from a circuit board. Just normal seven-year-old stuff.
I run in and out of rooms, scanning, listening for signs of my hidden siblings. Dad is a 1st Sergeant, which means that almost everyone has their own bedrooms. That’s a lot of rooms, especially from the perspective a little curly haired, cherub faced, tiny, precious three-year-old like me. Each room I enter, I pause. Military houses on post are always plain white walled and often a little bare. You move a lot. You purge. Your mom has five kids to wrangle: three little ones and two teenage step ones, though no one ever says step or half in this house. The closets, always with their white wooden slatted bi-fold doors, are stocked with hand-me-downs– unless you’re the baby girl that popped up by surprise just after your parents’ purged your brothers’ baby things.
I step into my own little room, all purple and yellow. I squish down to the floor to look under my white canopy bed.
I turn to leave but stop when I hear something. A shuffle. Maybe a whisper. I look to my closet and step closer. Little and looking up through the wooden slats, I see some movement, some outline. I narrow my eyes. This is a strong lead. I might be on to something here.
“Hey,” I squeak, “are you guys in there?”
A rustle, and then, from a big voice, “Nope! Nobody here but us chickens!”
And another big voice says, “Yup!”
And a little voice says, “Bock.”
And that is sufficient. These are not the droids I’m looking for. I have serious seeking left to do and can’t be bothered with chickens in closets. And so I shout, “Ok!” and continue scrambling through the house, looking for my siblings, who are so sweet and so fun to play with me and will be devastated when I find them because the baby isn’t supposed to be smart enough to catch them. This baby though– she’s a little detective. One smart cookie.