“Excuse me…” a little girl stopped to talk to me. I was walking to a grocery store. She looked up at me and kept on. “Where’s Nanami?” I was confused and asked her, “Sorry, I don’t know about Nanami. Who’s Nanami? Your friend?” But she did not reply to my questions. She was just staring at me. Then I thought, “Oh, God! Again!”
Somehow I sometimes pick up lost or unconscious people when I am walking. Interestingly, I am always alone and cannot find anyone to ask for help when I find them. That is why I feel like I am being tested by God like a pop quiz at school.
When I found an old man who could not move in the street several years ago, I was almost mistaken for a scammer or something by his family! He was hospitalized at that time and got lost while walking outside of the hospital. He turned at the wrong corner and kept on walking more than two hours. He was far away from the hospital. I offered him to tell the hospital about this situation, but he asked me to call his family instead. So, I phoned the number he gave me and tried to explain what was happening to his family. But the voice on the other end of the line was cold. “My father is in hospital now!” she said that and hung up. I told the old man that his family did not believe me and phoned the hospital, where staff was looking for him, of course. I caught a cab for him…A few days later, his family visited me with a lot of sweets!
So, this little girl looked lost. I crouched down and talked to her. “What’s your name?” But she did not say her name. “Do you live near here?” She tilted the head and said, “I don’t know.” I changed questions. “Are you a first grader?” She nodded. “Which is your school?” She said, “K Elementary School.” Oh, she answered precisely for the first time! The school was near the place. “Okay, then, let’s go to your school. You might find Nanami there. (And your teachers know about you!)” She nodded and started walking with me. What if I were a psychopath?!
Actually, there was a terrible murder case last month in Kobe. A first-grader-girl was killed by a 47-year-old man. The girl had promised with a friend of hers to play together after school, but she could not meet her friend. When she was walking alone, she was spoken to by the criminal. According to the news, the murderer invited her to his apartment, saying, “You’re very cute. Why don’t you become a model for my painting?” Taking the victim to his apartment, the perpetrator killed and mutilated her…
Walking with her, I tried to know her name and get other info. But she was incoherent. Without knowing her name, we got to a pedestrian bridge, on which we were able to see her school. “Look! That’s your school. Now, do you know where you are?” She seemed to be confused. She just said, “Where’s someone’s house?” I was at a total loss. “Someone’s house? Well…Who?” Both of us were puzzling now. “Anyway, let’s go to your school.” I said that and started walking, but she did not move. We were just in front of the grocer store where I was going to. I decided to ask for help there.
“Where are we going?” She asked me anxiously. “To the service counter.” I replied with a smile and entered the shop. She soon came running to me and said, “Do you buy me something?” I laughed and replied, “Ha ha, no. But we’ll find someone who can help us here.”
“Help me.” I whispered to a clerk at the service counter. There were three clerks behind the desk. They looked from me and to the girl. “This girl seems to be lost. I couldn’t get her name, but she seems to be a pupil at K Elementary School. I found her outside of this shop, not inside. But could you help me to find someone who knows her, please?” They said, “Of course!” in chorus. Two of them crouched down and started to talk to her immediately. I was relieved watching the exchange between the girl and the staff members for a while. It seemed that there was nothing for me to do. So, I asked one of them, “Can I go shopping? I’ll leave my name and phone number just in case you call the police.” “Okay. Take your time!” She said with a smile.
After buying some food, I went back to the service counter. One of them realized and came to me. I could not find the girl anywhere around the desk. “What happened?” I asked. “Oh, I was about to call you. Soon after that, her mother appeared and took her home. According to the mother, they don’t live around here.” I do not know how her mother found out that she was in the store, but I was relieved to hear that she met her mother anyway. “You know, we had that horrible murder case in Kobe last month. So, she was lucky because she found me!” “Exactly!” She laughed nodding. By the way, what is the girl’s name?