Illustration by Rolli

Our daughter vanished.

The woman looked pretty normal. She had long hair even though she was over forty. She had a brittle voice that made you listen carefully in case you dropped it.

She was a beautiful, healthy girl. And she vanished.

The whole time she spoke to us she didn’t blink. The trick to not crying might be to dry out your eyes.

She was a prostitute. She got into hard drugs.

I have to admit that made her less angelic in my book. I was picturing Little Dorrit or something. I’m pretty judgmental.

We found her in the Parliamentary Gardens. In a rose bush. Bleeding. They were actually white roses.

Even my teacher swallowed hard. I stared at her like, Where do you find these people? She stared at a square on the floor.

My daughter is an angel. She speaks to me. She hovers above me, and guides me. She forgives me. She loves me.

Without really realizing it, I think the whole class looked up at the ceiling. All I could see was the curved mirror they put in after the shootings. In her warped back reflection the woman’s shoulders were a bit like folded-back wings.

I looked at my teacher again. She started clapping.

I guess it was over.

Rolli (rollistuff.com; @rolliwrites) is a writer and cartoonist from Regina. His most recent story collection, I Am Currently Working On a Novel, was long-listed for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and short-listed for the High Plains Book Award. Rolli’s cartoons appear regularly in the Wall Street Journal, Reader’s Digest, Adbusters, and other popular outlets.

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