The screen door slapped the door frame behind her when Ella ran from the house and to the cherry red GTO waiting along the curb in front of the mailbox.
She ran, and it was the last time they saw their little girl.
Burt stood every night at the end of the driveway by that mailbox and stared down the street. Gale watched him from the inside of the closed screen door. Neither really spoke to each other during this time. It was an understood time.
Guilt spoke, though. It never shut up, really. Their friends tried to quiet it for them, but that was like trying to stop a waterfall with a wad of chewed gum.
They never met this boy of Ella’s. Ella met him at the mall just a few days ago, but never brought him around. She said he was shy.
Tom was his name, they thought.
But, really, how much attention did Burt pay to Ella’s dates? He wasn’t even sure if she had dated before this one.
What if he had just taken a bit more time to see who this boy was, maybe show a bit more interest?
What if he…if he just…
Gale was just so happy that Ella had found someone. She had always been such a shy, quiet girl. When she talked to her about Tom, he seemed to understand her, liked the same things she did. Such a nice boy.
What if she just asked more questions? What if she just found out more about his family, who he was…what if she…
Burt stared down the street and Gale watched from the house. Guilt talked and talked.
If only someone could quiet it.
If only Ella would come home.
She ran, but he took her.