She was one of those children who were esay on the surface. She came into this world pretty easy - compared to her brother that is. He was two years older than her, and when he'd pushed his way out from between my legs, both of us kicking and screaming, it'd been like hell itself had come to earth. With her, I barely felt a thing. We named her the way we had made her - on a whim. No, don't think that by that I mean we didn't want her. We wanted her, and we loved her like nothing had ever been loved before. I just mean we didn't think too hard before we did it. We just knew together that we wanted another child. And we named her just as impulsively, Lolita, after the book we'd loved her out of. No thought to how it would affect the way people saw the tall, slim adolescent she would become. But something about the ease of her birth was threatening, just under the surface. I guess I never felt like she was really mine the way Adam was. No pain, no gain.

She was a easy child to raise too, I guess. A few tantrums, but nothing out of the ordinary. She wrote poetry, did you know that? Oh there was no end to the tricks she could make her words do. I could never punish her, she was so convincing. She certainly had me, and her dad, wrapped round her little finger. Her poetry was beautiful. I felt like I was looking into her soul everytime she showed me something, which was often. Some of the things inside her, they scared me a little. She felt things so strongly, every word she wrote spoke of wonder, beauty, love, madness. But on the whole, easy to raise. Good school reports. Teachers loved her. Affectionate, even when she grew past the age kids don't want you to hug them anymore. An avid reader. Fond of psychedelic pop music and loud rap her father couldn't stand. She had a good social life, was out with her friends, sleeping over most weekends. Confused by the onset of sex and puberty. A normal child, a normal teenager.

She went out of my life easy too. One day she just wasn't there anymore. It's almost funny how long a fifteen year old girl can stay vanished before anyone realises she has gone. Six hours. Six hours from the time anyone last saw her to the time we realised that she had packed her bags sometime on a Sunday morning and simply walked out the door. And that was that. I haven't sen her again.

The police asked a lot of questions. They said they couldn't rule out the possibility of drugs, prostitution, gang culture. They searched my babies room, those big loutish men with their peaked caps and sleek black weapons dangling from their hips, rummaging through her teenage stuff. I felt a strange twinge of pride as they admitted they had found nothing - no drugs, no knives, not even a pack of fags. My darling. You outwitted them, didn't you? You didn't conform to their idea of a runaway teen. You had your own reasons, reasons those men could never understand. You were different, and not just because you were my child, my baby. They were stumped. A slim blonde police woman sat with me, and drank my coffee, and asked me whether my daughters disappearance was out of character, while Ben stood above the policemen in their useless search, paralyzed with his own powerlessness. Adam was away on a school trip to Borneo. The only thing the men found to comment on in her room was a slip of paper, torn from the edge of a geography worksheet. On the back was a poem. One of the men, a tall bulky fellow with curling dark hair and kind eyes, asked me if my daughter had written it. I said I didn't know. He ignored me. It was lovely, he said, lovely. My Lolita was quite a writer. He would look out for her first novel, when she was found.

They went through her laptop, her emails. She'd left herself logged in on facebook. They read that too, searching for any clue that she was planning to runaway, any messages from anyone of an unsavory nature. Unsavory. It sounded like bad soup. They tried to work out if she had been abducted. But her bag was missing, with clothes all packed, clean underwear, everything. Privately, me and Ben tried to piece together which books she had taken, she wouldn't have left without a few paperbacks at least. But she had so many it was like looking for a needle shaped hole in a haystack.

I didn't cry. I forced myself, angrily rubbing any tears away. I would not cry. I promised myself, not until they found her body. Until then, my daughter was alive. And she was alive. They still haven't found her, but she will forever be alive. I still have her poems, all except the one that the dark haired policeman found. I have a suspicion he took it with him, and it is even now lying, forgotten, my daughters messy handwriting stuffed in a drawer underneath a small handgun and a stack of pornographic magazines. I rarely dream about her, and when I do, it is not as herself, not clear, simply a reflection, a mirage of her face blended seamlessly into what appears to be a normal dream. I don't know much about dream interpretation, but if I was a Freudian, I have a feeling that I would interpret it as Lolita drifting away from my, all her young life, like a ghost on the wind. I sometimes think too of her namesake, Nabokov's young nymphet, who also disappeared without trace, at about the same age, although from slightly different circumstances.

Will she ever be back? I don't know. I miss you Lolita, if you are out there. If you see this, I want you back, for all it's worth. My little mystery wrapped in an enigma of a child. Send me a poem, my darling. Send me your love. Come back someday. Do you remember when you were little, I used to read you The Tale of Tom Sawyer? Remember how you used to laugh when Tom dreamed of coming back after he ran away, swaggering into the church where Aunt Polly sits, now a famous pirate. I can see you doing that, no matter how bad a pirate you'd make. Don't let yourself fall, my baby. Be true to those who love you. Don't let bad men touch you. Don't touch the drugs. Make yourself a life, my baby. And then come back to me.