The shaggy dog show last weekend was the most fun. Kendi touched (and was kissed by) ALL the dogs that were in attendance. Big ones taller than her, small ones shorter than our cat, fat ones, thin ones, shaggy ones, friendly ones, angry ones (We met one that was growling at us at the entrance, a big German shepherd, and Kendi turned and said, ‘dog, stop it!’ with all the authority of a trained dog handler. The dog didn’t stop growling but we were already moving away anyway, so she didn’t care) and sweet docile ones that kissed her over and over again.
At the end of the day, after all the fun, food and dog swimming (as it was a very hot day, there was a pool in the back for the dogs to cool off. Some of them really loved it. Dot, our little Norwegian Terrier, didn’t), it was time to go and Kendi was understandably very tired. I got up off patch of grass where we had been sitting, told my sisters and cousins that we needed to leave, told Kendi that we were going home and bent over to pick up my backpack. I turned around to take her by the hand and she wasn’t where she had been standing. I called ‘Kendi!’ No answer. ‘Where is she?’ I yelled at everyone and no one. ‘Where is she?’ Mich, my youngest sister repeated? ‘I don’t know. Have you seen the baby?’ I shouted at the ladies who were sitting behind us in the bleachers. ‘She went that way’ one of them pointed in one direction.
‘Go that way’ I pointed in the opposite direction to Wema, my cousin.
Mich and I took off in the direction the ladies had pointed. I was scanning everywhere and everyone. Mich was calling, ‘Kendi, Kendi’. I was running, over dogs and children, through the crowd. I felt extremely hot and very cold. I was shivering and I needed to cry. ‘Stop that’ I told myself, ‘look everywhere, just look everywhere.’ We reached the clearing, I was scanning the crowd for a person who is a little under 2 feet tall. In striped white pants and little tank top written ‘LOL’. She had her little dreads in colored hair bands- blue, white and pink. She had on white sneakers and white socks with a red and blue band. ‘Oh God, I’m trying to remember how to describe her to the police. Please God!’
‘There she is. Kendi!’ Mich called.
I saw her, ‘Kendi!’ I cried out. People turned. I must have been very loud. I didn’t care.
She was walking around aimlessly calling, ‘Mama, mama.’
‘Antie (I’m here),’ I said. ‘Idhi kanye?’ (Where are you going?) I asked.
Mich was crying.
Then Wema ran into the clearing with Dot and cried, ‘Oh my God. Tawi! They’ve found her’
Tawi, my other sister, turned- she was on the other side going towards the announcer’s tent. She and Zamu- my cousin, had the other dogs with them- Sifa and Raha- came running over and asked, ‘where did you find her?’ and fell on the ground crying. Everyone was crying now (except Kendi, who was tapping Tawi on the shoulder saying, ‘Tata Tayi, Tata Tayi’)
‘Over at that tent’, I pointed.
What I really meant to say was, ‘Over by God’s grace’.