“Is the ambulance here yet? I don’t think she’ll make it”,
“Not yet, but almost.” The other patrolman replied
It was a starless night, and the moon was merely a crescent; making it hard for the two patrolmen. They had found the remains of a car, unrecognizably wrecked at the foot of an Oak tree when they had come through the route on their night road watch. But it was the sight of a little girl lying unconscious at the back of the car that got their blood boiling. As for the woman at the driver’s seat, seeing the large amount of blood she lost, they were doubtful she’d make it.
The ambulance came through and the victims were taken to the emergency unit. Anna, the little girl sustained minor injuries from the crash; she regained consciousness in a few hours of their hospital stay. Leila, her captor, on the other hand suffered a severe trauma in the head and had fallen into coma.
“I want to see my mommy!”
“I want my daddy!” Anna screamed.
One of the patrolmen came in to meet Anna; Trying to explain in the best possible way he could to a six year old that her mother was in coma.
“She’s not my mother. I want my mommy and daddy!” Now the policeman was stunned. He was almost sure Anna was still in shock. But she kept on and on about Leila not being her mother.
The other policemen who was older and had kids of his own took charge.
“So, your name is Anna”… she nodded.
“And you say your mommy is not your real mother”… She nodded again, wiping her tear streaked cheek.
Anna explained to him that she hadn’t seen her parents in two years. She’d been living with Leila all those time and it had not been good. She showed him the bruises on her wrist to support her story. The patrolman was inclined to disbelieve her but there was something in the little girl’s pleading eyes.
The man couldn’t believe his ears- His little girl was alive. As he made his way through the hospital halls, he was happy but at the same time terrified. What if she doesn’t recognize me? Beads of sweat had begun to form on his forehead.
Tears streamed down his cheeks, he made no attempt to stop them. In his arms was his lost girl, as real as the sun, after two long years.
“Daddy I missed you. And I prayed everyday like you taught me to.”
He held her oh so tightly, making a solemn promise to himself never to let her go, ever! A few minutes passed by and Anna and her father still hadn’t bulged from their spot- They truly had missed one another. Eventually, he sat Anna back on the hospital bed, walked out of the room with her eyes still on him and came back hand in hand with a woman.
“Mommy!” Anna rejoiced. Before she could jump down from the hospital bed, her ‘real mommy’ caught her and hugged her. Anna’s mother knew it wasn’t over. Her baby was going to need therapy and a whole lot of love. But looking at Anna’s gleaming face, she knew in that little girl was a fighter and together as a family, they’ll make it.
“Now this is my real mommy” Anna said “Not that other woman”, she was directing the statement at the patrolman that didn’t believe her. He smiled, and they all laughed. Everything was going to be all right.
After Anna had told the patrolman her story, he had called someone at the district to crosscheck her story with previous records. It came out true. The men who had gone to take away the wrecked car had found some personal items belonging to Leila. After few phone calls, Leila’s real mother was finally contacted and eventually the whole story unraveled. Leila was suffering from schizo-affective disorder and Bipolar 2.
As Anna and her parents walked down the green hospital halls with the older patrol man at their side, they caught glance of an Old woman whom the other patrolman was talking to. Her cheeks were wet from tears; you could hear her little sniffles from across the hall. What caught Anna’s parent eyes was what she was holding. In the old woman’s hand was a red sweater. The same red sweater they had seen at the park; that was when they realized it was the same old woman.
The patrolman standing beside who saw where their glance was directed at explained to them. The old woman had come to confirm that Leila, Anna’s captor was her daughter. Leila had told the old woman that she adopted Anna and was going to bring her for a visit when the accident happened.
After seeing how slim and pale his little girl looked, Anna’s father had no sympathy for Leila. In fact, he couldn’t wait for the trial to begin. But the sight of the old woman with the sweater in her hand broke him a little. They had found their daughter but the old woman was losing hers; the sad cycle of life.