“Can I help you?”
A young girl, not more than 16, stands on my doorstep. She’s eerie-looking, ethereal. Translucent skin and wavy, white blond hair that appeared to have never seen a pair of scissors, wispy, falling in her face. She wears a simple white cotton dress, which is sopping wet. She must have walked through the rainstorm. She doesn’t speak, not at first, she just reaches in the front pocket of her dress and pulls out a neatly folded sheet of paper. It’s soggy, the ink is running, but the words are still legible. It’s my name, phone number, and address. I lose my balance as I remember. A little girl in a park years and years ago. Her parents’ loud arguments, marring the peaceful day. A bruise on her arm. The police saying there was nothing they could do. Her haunted face. I gave her that note. Pressed into her tiny hand when her parents weren’t looking and told her that if her parents weren’t afraid of the police, they should be afraid of me.
“I thought I’d imagined it.”
I shake my head, thinking of how this dear child’s face had been the last one I’d seen before I fell asleep every night since.
“No, you didn’t imagine it.”
“Quiet now.” My voice is soft. I step aside and let her in.