Ruth sat entranced by the tiny specs of dust floating in the beam of light reaching through the window. “Remember when Noah tried to catch the dust,” she said still staring.
“Yes, I do, Ruth.” Tom stood next to her staring at the dust. “We’re going to find him. I can feel it.”
“Why did I let go of his hand?” Ruth sighed. Tears streamed down her checks. She blotted the snot from her nose with a tissue.
“You mustn’t blame yourself.” Tom rubbed his wife’s shoulders. “Who’d ever thought something like this would happen to us. In this small town!”
“I let go to pay for the ice cream, and I turned, he was gone.” Ruth snapped her fingers. “That quick. How I wish I’d held tight to his little hand.”
Tom’s phone rang startling them both. He answered after one ring. “Hello. Yes, this is he. Oh, God! Okay, yeah. We’ll be right there.” Tom threw the phone on the table.
Ruth’s bottom lip quivered. “They found our boy’s body. Didn’t they?”
Tom knelt down in front of her. “They found a boy’s body, Ruth. It may not be Noah, but we have to go to the morgue to find out.”
Ruth let out a shrill scream and slipped out of her chair onto the floor.
Tom lifted her up and held her head against his chest. “I’ll go. I don’t know if you can handle any more stress. Ok?”
“No,” Ruth sniffled. “I have to go. What if it’s my boy?” She buried her face in her tissue and sobbed. “I have to see him. What if it’s the last time?”
Ruth stared out the car window on the ride to the morgue. Children played in the yards, squealing and laughing. Something she may never hear from her son again.
Tom pulled into a parking space and took a deep breath. He reached for Ruth’s hand. “We can do this. It may not be him, you know?”
Ruth nodded and they both exited the car.
The two were lead inside and down a long hallway to the morgue. “Are you ready,” the officer asked?
Ruth nodded and sobbed into a wad of tissues clutched in her hand.
The officer pulled the covering down from the face.
Ruth closed her eyes and stumbled backward.
Tom held her up. “It’s not him.” He shook his head and nudged Ruth.
She opened her eyes and let out a squeal. “It’s not my boy! It’s not him. It’s not him.”
The two held onto each other as they walked out to the car.
“It’s only been three days, Ruth. He’s still out there. I feel it.”
Ruth nodded and sobbed.
That evening, Tom hung fliers on every available post. H tucked one under every windshield. If Noah is out there, he’d find him.
He still had hope.
© 2018 Molly Smith