"Faith is seeing without believing," Abby told me, and I looked at her, because it was all I could do. It was the middle of the night, and we were sitting in the Waterfront, because we could, and because no one else was.
"How are we supposed to believe in something that we can't see?" I asked, dryly. Abby looked at me for a moment, and then shook her head.
"You ever hear of guardian angels, John?" she asked, and I snorted.
"Yeah, right," I said. "If there were such things as guardian angels, then the lot of us wouldn't be sitting around waiting for news…"
I trailed off and looked away. She knew what I meant. We were waiting, waiting for life or death, for good or bad, for hope, or nothing. Three of ours were down, and that…well, that was that.
"You shouldn't move faster than your guardian angel can fly," said Abby dryly, and I gave her a look.
"So, it's their fault?" I demanded. "Their fault that the secretaries screwed up and we got the wrong apartment, their fault we didn't see the damn gunman, their fault that they're all lying in a hospital?"
She shook her head, startled by the anger I'd turned on her with. "That's not what I meant," she said, quietly. "I know you were only doing your jobs, and it's no one's fault."
That was Abby, though, she'd say things she didn't mean, and somehow always have a way to explain herself so it didn't sound as bad as it might have.
"How are we supposed to have faith when things like this happen?" I asked her finally. "How are we supposed to believe that there's something better than this when everything gets shot to hell, every single day?"
"I wouldn't say everything's been shot to hell," said Abby. "Yes, bad things happen, but at the same time, good things do, too. We haven't had to notify families of anything other than an injury."
An injury. I rolled my eyes at her. It was more than that. It was life hanging in the balance, three cops suspended in a place where none of us could reach them and no one but the doctors who worked with them could save them. Faith had nothing to do with it anymore, at least, not as far as I was concerned.
"That doesn't answer my question, though," I said. "How are we supposed to have faith when it constantly seems that everything's going wrong?"
"Because having faith is the only way that we're going to keep from driving ourselves up the wall. We have to believe at some point that something good is going to happen."
"You're wearing rose-colored glasses again, Abby." I trailed off for a long moment and then shook my head. "How am I supposed to explain it to an eight year old?"
"Eight year olds are impressionable," Abby replied. "You know she'll believe whatever you tell her."
That was the problem. I didn't particularly want Kai to believe everything I told her; I wanted her to figure a few things out for herself.
"This is one of those things that I think she should figure out for herself," I said finally. "I don't think trying to sugarcoat it is going to do any good, Abby, she knows what happened."
"Yeah, because you told her."
"What was I supposed to do, lie?"
"No. But I suppose you could explain it in simpler terms, since the adult part of this conversation will probably be a bit more complicated for her."
"I doubt it. She's managed to figure out what the lot of us mean half the time. Not something I wanted, but there you have it."
"Well, she's growing up with a bunch of prosecutors and murder police in and out of her life." Abby downed what was left in the glass before her and then went on. "It's a matter of keeping your fingers crossed."
"How the hell is that believing and/or having faith?" I asked. Abby shrugged.
"It'd be easier if we were still kids," she said. "But I suppose it's because crossing your fingers means you're still hoping for something. You still have faith that it'll happen, and you believe it will happen."
"So I'm supposed to tell her that if she keeps her fingers crossed, they'll come out ok, is that it?"
Abby shook her head at me. "Well, even if it doesn't answer your questions about faith and the like, it might answer hers."
There was silence between us. I finished off what was left of my own drink and gave Abby a sideways look without saying anything. She had a point. The whole crossing fingers thing did seem to signify faith in something, belief that something would happen, if not to a veteran prosecutor and a well-worn murder police, then certainly to a child.
I looked at my watch, and then at Abby again. "I think you just answered my question," I said, and then, "Come on, let's go home before Rose decides she wants to kill us."