Amazing Kids! Magazine

New York City Adventure

By Kate Delacourte, age 17


Being lost in a place you are not familiar with is one of the worst experiences. It always happens so quickly. One minute you are perfectly fine and then the next, you look around to realize you have no idea where you are. When I think back on all the times I have felt lost, one particular event comes to mind. Unlike many other memories that are foggy in my mind, I can clearly recall every detail of what happened on the day that I found myself lost on a crowded subway platform in the middle of NYC.

It was a balmy day in mid-August. After weeks of rain, the clouds had finally parted to reveal bright blue skies. I found myself thinking that it was the type of day where nothing could go wrong. Outside my bedroom window, nature had taken its full course. Pink flowers with drops of dew glistened like gems. Birds were chirping. Even the maple tree that had always looked so lifeless, looked more alive than ever. I didn’t think there had been a day that whole summer that had been as beautiful as this one.

My cousin, whom I had always felt strongly connected to for having the same name as mine, was a plump older woman with no husband or children. Instead she had eight fat cats, whom she spoiled rotten. While on vacation, my grandmother had been assigned the duty of cat sitter for two full weeks. I couldn’t be more envious that she was going to be able to stay at my cousin’s luxurious penthouse in the upper east side of Manhattan. I had always loved the city; the twinkling lights at dusk, the sweet smell of pretzels and ice cream, and the quick-paced lifestyles that seemed to occupy every New Yorker. For the next two days, I relentlessly begged my mother to take my sister and me into the city. I reasoned that she would be lonely all by herself in the giant apartment. Finally, she gave in. I was thrilled!

It must have been around noon. I stared outside the car window, watching as the scenery quickly changed from rural lush forests, to what seemed like a never-ending line of built up malls and department stores. The car stereo played an upbeat song; one of the year’s biggest hits. I sang along with the parts I knew.

“Can you please go a little faster than thirty miles an hour?”, I remember my sister saying in a sharp voice. I saw my mother’s eyes raise in the mirror. Looking back, I realize now that I should have seen this as a sign that the day I had thought would be so perfect, might not end up going the way I’d imagined.

We were running late, but this was nothing new for my family. My mother has always been notorious for being late. Sometimes, I think she is incapable of getting anywhere on time. The train was leaving the station at 2:00 in the afternoon. At 1: 45 we were still driving. We were certainly cutting it close. At 1:55 we pulled into the parking lot. My mother cursed under her breath that we still had to buy tickets. My sister was not helping the situation; she kept whining that our mother “really needed to stop being so late all the time”. As we ran up the stairs, I heard the sound of chugging, and realized, that it was too late, we had missed the train.

Somehow, we had managed to get on the subway to my cousin’s apartment by around six in the evening. I had never seen my mother as stressed out as she was at that moment. I had noticed that she wasn’t talking much, even when she made an abrupt turn she would not tell us where she was going; she simply expected we would follow behind. Because it was rush hour, the subway was packed. My legs ached from the walking we had done, and I desperately wanted to sit down. The train stopped to let people off, and I grabbed a seat before they were all taken. Just as I had situated myself, I became aware that my sister and mother were no longer standing in front of me. Panicking, I tried to think of what could have happened. My mother would not have left without telling me first. But then, if this were the case, where was she? Frantically, I made the decision to get off at the stop, before the doors closed. Just as I was exiting, I felt the sharp jab of plastic on my arms. The doors were closing on me. As I yanked the fabric from my shirt that was caught on the door, I saw my sandal fly across the station. I wanted to cry. For the first time, I felt like I completely understood the expression that refers to feeling as if you are lost in a sea of people. I wish I could erase every detail of this day, however I can’t seem to shake it from my memory. It is one of those things that people always claim will become more bearable as time passes, but never does.

I did end up finding my mom and my sister that day. Although terrifying, this experience taught me a lesson that I don’t think I would have learned without this happening. What it taught me was that you can never completely rely on anyone but yourself. I thought that I could rely on my mother, and while most of the time I can, this time I could not. If I had not relied on my mother to tell me when she was getting off the subway, I would have seen her leaving, and avoided the situation entirely. Besides the lesson I learned from this experience, I know one other thing for certain; I won’t be finding myself lost on another subway station anytime soon.