Unfortunately, Yes (bp coyle)

Are these your children?’ the stranger at my front door asked me.

She was a stern looking woman in a pale raincoat.

She gestured at them when I failed to reply, though they were hard to miss.

Two little girls, two years old.  Dressed in the pale pink princess dresses I had bought for them over a year earlier.  Those dresses had been loved to pieces, literally.  And they only reached down to their belly buttons, these days.  They were wearing nothing else, not even socks.  It was ten o’clock on a dark Autumn night.

It did not look good for me as a parent.

I stood there with my mouth open wondering how on Earth they had managed to get outside.

‘They were running up and down the road,’ the lady informed me with obvious disdain, ‘like that.’ She gestured to them again, unnecessarily in my opinion.  I decided that I did not like her, at all.

‘Well?’ she demanded, ‘Are they yours or not?’

I was tempted, so very tempted, to simply shake my head and turn away.

‘Yes,’ I said sadly, guiltily.

I rushed them inside and quickly closed the door on her contemptuous look.