Chapter: In which Olivier disappears
Yesterday afternoon Olivier went off to visit a friend on his BMX bike, not easy to travel any distance but his other bike needs the gears fixing. Before he left I warned him to watch the time as it ‘s almost dark by 6 o’clock and he has no lights. Around four, Olivier and his friend turned up to play with the Xbox. I was pleased because I knew that Olivier was home. Just after five Olivier told me that he was accompanying his friend home, so I again warned him to watch the time as (altogether now) it’s almost dark by six o’clock.
I went to pick up Rob for six o’clock, so when we got home it was dark, but no Olivier. I expected him to turn up any minute, full of apologies. By quarter to seven we started to get a bit worried. I only knew the friends first name and the village where he lives, which is pretty large. So I phoned a Mother of one of his other friends who could give me the surname and no other details. No telephone registered in our region under that name. A lot of families don’t have a fixed phones as they’ve all got mobiles and a lot of children live with step-fathers who don’t have the same name. She gave me the names of some other friends, one didn’t know where the other boy lived and the rest, no phone numbers. Rob went off to look for Olivier in the car. Near to us is a cycle lane which used to be a road, cars aren’t supposed to use it, so the ones that do are usually the kind who drive badly. Rob drove through there; no sign of Olivier, so he came home.
Rob had arranged to go out, so he was getting cross about that and we were both anxious. Next step was to go to the gendarmerie to report him missing. We decided to go over the cycle lane again, on the way to the gendarmerie, calling as we went and using a torch to look into the ditches. I didn’t realize there were so many deep ditches along that road. It was horrible, we’d just rejoined the main road when Dom phoned to tell us that Olivier had arrived home. His Friend’s mother came on to the phone to explain that she let the boys play a little longer (nearly two hours) as she said she’d drive Olivier home. I was so pleased that he was safe. When we got home we explained that if it ever happened again he must phone to let us know his plans.
Rob went out in time and Olivier spent the rest of the evening in his room. He was very quiet. I think he realized how upsetting it all was.