Did Somebody Kidnap Her?
My daughter-in-law wanted some saltenas to take home and put in the freezer because they are a big favorite and hard to come by where she lives Not every town is blessed with a vibrant Bolivian community and an ample supply of saltenas.
My daughter and I venture out to get her saltenas. We pull into the parking lot and see a couple cars ahead of us pull in and head for the saltena shop I have been here many times before. Usually when I arrive they have just sold out and I wait for 20-30 minutes in my car while they make another batch.
“Where is that lady going?” “Looks like she is headed to the bakery for saltenas.” “There is another person who looks like she might be serious about saltenas.” My daughter gets out of the car and heads for the door to get in line and hopefully get some saltenas. I fidget around in the back seat of the car looking for my mask. Finally I find it and walk into the bakery, where I expect to meet my daughter in line. She is nowhere in sight. I think to myself, “Where is she, she walked over here ahead of me. This is a very small shop. Where did she go?” I am next in line and l place my order for a dozen chicken saltenas . Then I check the restroom. She must be there, but no. I step outside and look around the parking lot. I see an empty car and a small strip of stores There is a second hand store, that would never appeal to my minimalist daughter, and a vacuum repair shop. She isn’t in either of those stores for sure. Besides, I saw her walk in this direction. So where is she?
Then I spot it. There is only one place she could be. There is a white van in the parking lot. It is the only place big enough and enclosed enough to hide someone. I mean she didn’t disappear into thin air, right? She is young and pretty. No, that’s ridiculous. This is a perfectly safe area. I come here all the time. But, where did she go?
This is the story so far from my perspective. I go back inside to pay and collect my box of saltenas. I am signing the credit card form when my phone rings… “Mom, where are you? “ “Hold on a minute I can’t talk right now.” I finish signing the receipt. “What do you mean hold on, are you in danger?” “No, I’m getting a dozen saltenas. What happened to you, I ‘ve been worried about you..” Then my daughter says, “Wait, I’m getting a dozen saltenas.” I respond, “ How could you be?” I don’t see you anywhere.
Me: “I’m in the bakery right now I thought you would be here ahead of me.”
Her: “Well, I’m in the restaurant. I couldn’t understand why you didn’t follow me in.”
It turns out that the saltena place has two entrances, one to the bakery and one to the sit down restaurant. Saltenas to go are ordered through the bakery. I didn’t even know you could order them through the restaurant. I guess they were doing her a favor. It never occurred to me to look there.
And then I hear the story from her perspective. You were right behind me. What happened? I followed that lady who looked “serious about saltenas” into the restaurant. I didn’t see you anywhere. “Where’s my mom? She was right behind me. Is she waiting in the car? After looking there, “no, not there” Then she checked the restroom. “She must have slipped in behind me” But no, not there either “Where is she?” She orders her dozen saltenas and leaves them on the counter. “ I lost my mom I’ll be right back.” She wouldn’t be in the vacuum store. The thrift store, maybe? She checks. “Then I see it, the white van. She is old and could be seen as vulnerable. I mean I checked everywhere else, except for that white van” As she thinks this to herself, a woman opens the rear door to the van and pulls out cleaning supplies. She looks pretty legit, not shady at all. I must be wrong but poof it’s like my mom went up in a blast of blue smoke. Then she remembers the era we live in. She pulls out her cell phone and calls. And the rest is history.
We went home with two dozen saltenas and a good story.