We tumble into the apartment, groceries dangling from my arms. E is kicking off her sneakers, the remainder of an ice cream dripping on the floor.
I hear a massive sound, like a giant clapping his hands. E's face jumps. It is still daylight outside.
"Fireworks?" She asks me.
I shrug my shoulders. I put the groceries away.
One more sound.
I see a flock of black birds thrash through the sky outside the kitchen windows. I go to the balcony in the bedroom. Looking down onto the sidewalk, I see a handful of men with pistols out. There are three men on the ground, face-down. Their hands are behind their backs.
E tiptoes to me, stopping in the doorway.
"Is the fireworks over?" She asks.
I wave my hand at her to stop.
"Go play in the living room, ok?" I ask her.
Five minutes earlier, we were walking right there. She was running ahead of me a little, something we do when we are so close to home, past the last driveway where the cars gun their engines and run red lights. I am suddenly cold.
Taking a step back, I watch a big black SUV pull up. Two of the men jump in. The three men on the ground all have dark hair, jeans, sneakers. One does not move at all.
There are no police cars, no walkie talkies, no flashing of badges. People drift past them, not stopping just making their way home like we were. One of the men with a pistol now shoved in the back of his pants is looking up at the apartment building. I duck inside.
E asks me to take a picture of her combing her hair.
I listen for sirens, for an ambulance. Nothing.
I make dinner.
I step out on the balcony as the light is fading. The three men are still on the sidewalk, face down. There is a collection of new men now, some on cel phones, their cars parked half in the busy street, doors hanging open.
If we were just five minutes later, I think to myself.
I go back inside.
E needs to take a bath.
In the morning, there is nothing there. No blood stains, no crime scene tape, no chalk outline. Just some tulips that have been freshly planted on the lawn.