Friday, February 20, 2009

What if?

The water ran hot over my hands as I absentmindedly scrubbed at a dish this afternoon. I happened to glance up and notice through the blinds that my screen door was propped open. I quickly dried my hands and went to investigate, calling to Mica at the same time. I glanced outside and Romeo came in from an obvious escape attempt, and as I turned back inside I realized Mica had not come to my call. I scanned the living room, quickly looked in her bedroom whre she had been playing Barbies only minutes before, and ran outside barefoot calling her name. No sight of her. I looked up and saw a man standing on the porch of my upstairs neighbor, "Have you seen a little girl?" I asked, the panic beginning to rise my voice an octave. He gestured, but with my lack of hearing I could only assume he was saying no, that he had only seen the dog. I ran back inside, torn, should I sweep the house for her and risk losing precious minutes of her roaming alone outside? I also did not want to leave her alone in the house if I had simply overlooked her in a corner. I ran in a circle, anxiety gripping my chest as I yelled her name. I ran back outside and saw another man across the parking lot, I ran to him asking if he had seen a 2 year old girl with lopsided pigtails. He shook his head no and kept talking on the phone, as though a missing two year old is not big news. I wanted to hyperventilate but forced myself to stay calm and push away the images of me crying to the media to please just give me back my baby. I didn't want to be on the news, I wanted Mica. I hopelessly run down the sidewalk, calling in every direction, Mica Mica Mica... tears threatened to spill down my face and I roughly wiped them away as I strained to see as far as my eyes would allow me. Then through the row of cars across the way, I saw a little pink shirt! I ran as fast as my legs have ever run, darting into the lane, careless and terrified as I landed on the sidewalk. Relief flooded over me as I saw her standing obliviously at the gate to JT's school, a gaggle of school girls talking to her. All of them immediately faded into the background as I scooped Mica into my arms and continued to call her name Mica Mica Mica. I squeezed her much too tight and fought back a tear as she cuddled into my neck. Mommy. As quickly as the my fear subsided the anger rose in my chest. As we got back into our house I let out a torrent of furious scoldings, forcing her to repeat back to me "Mica no go outside without Mommy!" A flood of tears escaped her as she realized the extent of her mistake. After her punishment we lay together in her tiny toddler size Princess bed in her darkened room. Tears stained her cheeks as I pressed my face to hers and softly kissed her eyelids. I took a deep breath, allowing it to slowly release all of the tension and what ifs... I cannot even allow myself to think what if...

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