The Fugitive, by JJ Springer

(Post by JJ Springer)

 

Do you know where ‘lyss’ is?

 

No, isn’t she with you?

 

The search was on. Incidentally, Faith (age five) was missing too. Neighbor Caleb found her quickly where we figured she would be. Inside his unlocked house. With nobody else inside. For Faith it’s always su casa mi casa.

 

But Alyssa (age four) wasn’t with her. Double-check the yard. And the house. And the neighbor’s yard.  Nope. Nope. Nope.

 

Now it’s serious. Toss up a quick prayer. Make a plan. Last year about this time she flew the coup and someone found her a block south.

 

Shirtless.

 

In the middle of 15th Avenue.

 

Caleb…could you go north? Carol, knock on doors. I’m going to drive around and look. Kids, I’m going to play a DVD. DON’T LEAVE. Are you sure you don’t know where she is?

 

No Dad. What movie do we get to watch?

 

I get in the pickup. I scan the neighborhood. How worried should I be? Stranger danger? Not likely, although if kids were kidnapping targets on sheer cuteness she would have been snatched a long time ago. Has she wandered into someone’s unlocked house? Decent chance. And if someone has a TV and left a bag of candy laying around she’s going to be there for a while. Pedal in front of a moving car? Good chance. She’s only about two feet high on her bike.

 

I begin to plot out in my mind what her “consequence” will be when I find her. Clearly, this cannot keep happening.

 

So I drive a block south. Not panicking. Not relaxed either. No sign. No sign. No sign. She cannot keep doing this. Wish I had brought the spoon with me so I could do it as soon as I find her.

 

Turn right. Scanning. Scanning. Scanning. Still no sign. She cannot keep doing this. End of the block. Look left. Nope. Straight ahead. Nope. Look right. Flinch. Looks like a mom walking while her child bike-rides. Or possibly my daughter.

 

I drive that way. The little bike rider comes into focus. She looks very familiar. She HAS to learn her lesson. Drive a little closer. It’s her.

 

The “mom” is holding a tennis racket.

 

“We were playing tennis and she rode past the court (three blocks from the house). I was trying to help her find home and just about to call the sheriff.”

 

I tell her I’m the dad and thank her.

 

The fugitive looks up at me from her bike. (lavender…butterflies…tiny training wheels).  Her big brown eyes seem a little bigger and a little browner than usual. Dark brown hair falling out from under that oversized purple helmet. Shirt soaked from riding through a sprinkler.

 

Angry-intense-focused-disciplinarian-daddy’s blood pressure drops. Muscles relax. Breathing slows. Back de-arches.

 

I couldn’t find you and mommy!

 

Lyss, we couldn’t find you! We didn’t know where you were!

 

I didn’t know where YOU were!

 

That’s because you rode away!

 

I pick her up to eye level. She doesn’t know what to expect. She looks like she knows what she should have coming. I decide that’s enough of a consequence. I put her in the back seat, then lift her bike into the back of the pickup.

 

I dial mommy.

 

Found her.

 

We head home.

 

Luke 15:3-7 (ESV) So he told them this parable: “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’ Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

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