Rumbling along the narrow, potholed dirt lane in his 1940 Studebaker Champion, he realized he was almost home. Would they think he had changed? He knew he had. Even though he thought about what impact it would have on them and their reaction upon him, he was so tired he could not try to anticipate it. Let the marbles fall where they will.
There, ahead, it was the old homestead. Lights in the front windows. A welcome of sorts, at least. They were at least up for him.
Now along the rock wall in front of the property he turned through the drive entrance in the ancient tire wheel ruts toward the house.
Smoke rose from the chimney as he parked and got out. He stretched his legs and looked around at the pastures and then across the road towards the O’Keiths place set back farther off the road. No lights there. Tomorrow for sure.
He looked up and watched the clouds as they drifted overhead.
He took a deep breath. His eyes adjusted to the night and his gaze fell upon the house. His home. There his parents were, together at the entrance to his house, standing in the doorway, waiting.
He stood for a moment, returning their gaze.
He reached in the car and pushed the seat forward to grab his duffle bag from the back seat. He set it on his shoulder and pushed the seat back and closed the door.
Laddie was suddenly in front of him. Anxious. A whine. On his knees he took the dogs face into his hands and brought it to his to place his nose and forehead on Laddie’s nose bridge.
“Ahh, Laddie, I missed you terrible. How you been boy? Okay, let’s go!”
Laddie immediately healed to his right side and they walked the short distance to greet Dad and Mom in embraces. Dad patting him on the shoulder. Mom’s embrace tight and secure.
It was going better than he had thought.
How could I have known that they knew? I guess it’s one of the things we learn in life about life itself.
When you love your offspring you go to them, don’t you?
God it was good to be home.