The last time I saw Angelina, her hair was a tangled mess of brown strands that roughly resembled two braids on either side of her head. The smear of a sticky orange sugar glaze lining her mouth was all that was left of the sweet treat she’d bought from the musical van that cruised down our street hours before.
I think about that van often now, I wonder if the skinny unshaven man behind the wheel noticed the way my daughter’s eyes shined. If he too saw the way her cheeks were touched with cherry, as if by an angel’s soft pinch of grace. I wonder if his van served more than just the purpose of alluring children with its siren like song.
This morning I walked the streets of our neighborhood, like I do every morning, like she did that summer day in June, and I noticed house number 2607, the one with the blue shutters and peeling white siding, had their curtains open. The thing about that house is, they never have their curtains open. I’ve told the police this, but they say that means nothing. They can’t get a search warrant for every house that keeps their curtains closed. I’ve thought about walking straight into their house, when the garage opens, or the man is outside mowing the lawn.
But a part of me knows I’ve gone a bit crazy. I comprehend time stopped for me on June 19, 2012. The police tell me, my husband says, the death certificate proves, my baby was killed, two houses down from mine, by a dog that’d escaped its yard. But I don’t understand how that can be true. I’d never seen a dog at that house. I sit here and stare at her little shoes, and I think she can’t really be completely gone. She’s got to be out there. Somewhere. Waiting for me to bring her home.