She’s gone

“I just don’t know what to do about her, Jess,” an exasperated Darrin told his wife. “It’s like she’s not even our kid anymore, you know?”

Jessica nodded. She knew exactly what her husband was talking about. For the past several weeks, since a church camping trip, their teenage daughter Lola hadn’t been herself. Jessica sighed, opening her mouth to respond to her husband, but was interrupted by the appearance of Lola, herself.

“Hi, Mom. Hi, Dad! How are you two doing this beautiful day?”

Jessica and Darrin gaped, wide-eyed, as their bouncy, bright-eyed, cheerful teenager glided into the bright kitchen. Neither could believe what they were seeing.

Lola was dressed in a knee-length skirt, in pale pink, with a white-lace on white-solid tank top. Her ankle-high shoes were sporty, also in pink and white. Lola’s hair was tidily put up in a high ponytail on top of her head, but the most shocking thing about it was the color. Brown. A warm, golden brown that glimmered in the morning light streaming through the kitchen window.

“Lola!” Jessica gulped down the words she’d been about to say, instead opting to address her daughter. “We’re fine. Just fine. Ummm, how are you?”

“Oh, peachy, Mom. Thanks ever so much for asking. I think I’m going to go into town and maybe hit up the mall. If that’s alright with you and Dad? Unless, of course, you have anything you need me to do around the house today?”

Jessica looked at Darrin, but he simply shook his head, too shocked to speak. His reluctance threw Jessica’s thoughts into turmoil as well, so she merely waved her daughter on her way.

Lola giggled, a bright, cheery sound, and bounced out of the kitchen, headed to have her day of fun.

Darrin and Jessica shared a worried look.

“Darrin, she’s…she’s…” Jessica couldn’t go on.

“I know, dear, I know. I’m worried, too,” Darrin stared morosely in the direction his daughter had gone. “But one day, we’ll have our little demon back. One day…”

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