Saturday December 2nd 2023

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Returning Chapter 6



Luz yelled at Angel, “How could you forget to pick up our daughter?!” 

Angel yelled at Luz, “I thought it was your turn! I worked a double shift yesterday.” 

Luz, “How could you do this?” 

Angel, “I didn”™t DO anything!” 

Their shouting woke up Angelito from his nap. 

“Mami, papito, why are you shouting at each other?” he asked, bursting into tears. 

Angel went to comfort his son; Luz called the daycare. It went to voicemail. She called the director”™s cell phone. Same. She called a friend, a mother of another child in the program, and no answer there either. 

There comes a point when the profound terror of a lost child bursts past shock, anger and blaming, and settles into desperation. Alone, that can lead a parent to either paralysis or futile violence. Fortunately, Luz and Angel were able to put their blame mechanism aside and comfort each other. They began to think the same. Angel passed Angelito to his wife, who went for his coat, while Angel put on his shoes and coat. Each of them reminded each other to bring their phones and keys. 

Mi Familia Day Care was a few short blocks from their apartment. The slush had begun to freeze, so there were a few slips and near-falls on the way. Angelito kept asking where they were going, and Angel and Luz both told him they were just going to get his sister. 

In their rational minds, they didn”™t expect to see anyone at the daycare, but the part of them that hopes was guiding their steps and moving their eyes and legs. When they arrived, there was only the security light on above the door. Luz rang the bell several times, and pounded on the glass door. Angel peered in””by the thin, red light of the emergency exit signs, he couldn”™t tell if anything was out of place. It took them a minute to realize that there was a handwritten note taped to the door. It looked like it had been ripped from a notebook. 

“What”™s it say,” Angel asked. Luz read it out loud: 

Don”™t worry. 

We have your light blessing. 

You will know where she is. 

“What?!” Angel asked. He took the paper from Luz and read it again. 

“We have your light blessing?” he shouted. “What the hell does that mean?” 

“And how ”˜will we know where she is”™?” Luz cried. “Oh Angel, somebody took our baby!” 

They did not notice that when they tore the note off the door, the left a piece hanging there. They didn”™t pay attention to the marks on the bottom of the page they held in their hands: two small open arrows ^ ^ pointing up, and a vertical straight line next to it. Had they seen those markings and had they matched them to the markings on the scrap left on the door, they would have seen the initials M L written there. Had they done so, they might have realized that their dear Lupita was safe, and that the mysterious M L was someone they could trust. But in their terror, they could not see. 

A fierce wind blew around the corner of Lake Street and blew the paper out of Angel”™s hand. He dashed into the street after it, almost getting hit by a dark colored van with tinted windows. The driver honked and the passengers shouted, but Angel was only thinking about preserving the only clue they had. 

Luz, on the other hand, saw the van, saw it had no license plate on either the front or back, and heard the voice. A second fierce wind blew through her; not from the storm that was starting outside, but from the storm that had been hidden inside her for a long time. 

To be continued”¦ 

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