by Constance Bourg
Every morning, whatever city I happen to be in, I pull on my shorts and go for a run. It is the only way I can forget. The only time I can let my attention lapse and not feel like a crushing failure. I am running through a drippy greyness and a sea of hunched shoulders when I see the girl. Was I still scanning the crowd? I must have been. She is looking right at me. I detect a glint of recognition in her eyes. She’s the right age… 6 or 7; she was taken three years ago. Alice… my Alice, it’s her! It’s my little girl… my daughter!
A woman leads the girl into a multi-story building; I follow. Bobbing and weaving through a blurry mass, I see only her, being led to the elevator. I lurch forward and quarterback my way in. My heart pounds in my ears as the door swooshes closed behind me. We move up. My eyes never leave the back of the girl’s head. I found you!
Observation deck. I am the first one out. I head for the glass barrier. Put my hood up. My legs are trembling. I finally found you. My mind scrambles for a plan. I pretend to look out at the view. It’s alright, sweetie. I’m going to take you home. All it takes is a momentary lapse in attention. I should know.