The sign read “Baby Missing.” It hung in the back, over the garage sale notice and the dog walking service with three numbers left, at the Starbuck’s on Sheridan. His back to me, he read the review of “Super 8” from his ipad. “Baby Missing.” It was written in black sharpie – perhaps the only thing permanent. “Baby Missing…three years old… blonde curly hair…” He finished the movie review and asked, “Should we go?” “There’s a baby missing,” I said. Even the words felt uncomfortable. “A baby missing?” He looked at me, “How could a baby be missing?” The two men sitting on the circular table in front of us, repeated the same thing, ”How could a baby be missing?” My heart sank. She was out there. Was she scared or cold or crying? A baby was missing and I was drinking a non-fat, extra hot, vanilla latte. A baby was missing and we asked a few questions… this barista… this customer… no one knew anything… and the collective roar of our worry soon quieted to heads shaking in disbelief. And softly, politely we all slipped back into our previous conversations. A baby was missing, and I sipped my coffee, losing the thought around page 365 of my newest read. I recycled the cup and plastic lid… and we left Starbuck’s to see “Super 8.” A baby was missing…and my heart aches… for the three year old curls… and my ability to forget her.
I was using a black sharpie today. She flashed through my head – an image did anyway. I never did know what she looked like. It didn’t make the Chicago news. But she mattered. She still does. Today I will tell you that you matter, and if you could pass it along…it’s just possible, it could be unforgettable.