I wrote this story a couple of months ago on my phone when I was sitting in a park in Lviv, Ukraine. It’s partly inspired by the Yard of Lost Toys, which I’ve previously written about visiting.
I’d never been lost in my own city before. I guess there’s a first time for everything.
Before you point out that it’s totally implausible for someone to lose themselves in the city they’ve lived in their whole lives, let me provide a bit of context. I hadn’t been feeling well for several days. Feverish and a little nauseated, I’d forced myself out of the house for my best friend Polly’s birthday dinner. I know it wasn’t the best idea I’d ever had, but she’d always made an effort for me so I didn’t want to let her down.
I’d felt fine at the restaurant until the main course arrived, then I excused myself and went to the bathroom. I’d locked myself in a cubicle, waiting for the nausea to pass. After sitting there for a couple of minutes, I heard Polly’s voice.
“Sophie, are you okay?” she asked.
I opened the door. “I’m not feeling well,” I admitted. “I probably shouldn’t have come, but I didn’t want to let you down.”
She insisted that I go home and get some rest. “I’ll call you a taxi,” she said.
“No, it’s okay, I’ll do it,” I said. “You should get back to your guests.”
She hugged me. “Text me when you get home.”
I didn’t call a taxi. I’d given Polly some money to cover my share of the food we’d already eaten, and didn’t have enough left to pay for a taxi fare. The bus stop was only a few streets away, so I decided that I’d take the bus home.
There was one problem; everything looked different in the dark. I couldn’t find the bus stop, not even the street it was on. I couldn’t find anything.
I walked past an old apartment building, the yard looked creepy in the streetlight. As I looked closer I realised why. There were soft toys strewn around everywhere. I could see a toy panda propped against a plant pot, some lions, and a large toy fox that had seen better days. I started to shiver. It was like something out of a horror film.
I realised the chances of these stuffed toys attacking me were very slim, but I was lost and alone in the dark, and didn’t feel safe. I turned on my 4G and connected to Google Maps, wondering why I hadn’t thought of that before. After a few minutes, I found the bus stop and was soon on my way home.
Once I arrived I texted Polly.
“Arrived home safely. Hope you’ve had a good evening x”
I made myself some tea with honey, then climbed into bed. I didn’t tell anyone I’d got lost on the way home; it’s kind of embarrassing. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened again.