In Cirencester this morning, to have my hair done, I called into Crew Clothing to peruse their bargains. As I waited to pay, a woman came over to speak to the assistant, describing in great detail her son who had gone missing.
“He’s wearing a red and green check poncho, a cap with earflaps turned up and jeans”. She added that he was pretty vacant at times and had a habit of wandering off when she wasn’t looking. Oh, and he was eighteen. If he came back to the shop, she asked, would they tell him she’d gone back to the car. I must admit, she sounded pretty exasperated but only after she’d gone did we all look round and say “mobile phone?”
I did what I had to do, pottering around bakers, butchers and card shop (whose idea was it to have a birthday in early January?) and finally, checking that there were supplies of sugar mice on hand for Christmas stockings. As I started back to the car, I found myself walking alongside a young man fitting the description his mother had shared in Crew Clothing at least an hour earlier.
“Excuse me, but did you come out shopping with your mother this morning?” I asked. “If so, she’s gone back to the car”.
“Oh, thanks!” he said, with a grin.
I hoped she’d been able to have a nap, listen to something good on the radio or even gone home without him