My Poetic Path

my journey…shared in poems, prose and photos

The Homecoming ( a short story, encore post)

6 Comments

Hot, stifling air. A far-reaching, almost eerie silence. The sky: brilliantly blue, generously dotted with billowy “mashed potato” clouds.Replicas and visions from younger, happier days.

All of these had remained, helping to sustain him through the long, lost days. He had known only to well, the many faces of hunger and thirst. The nights, hardest of all to bear.

He stood slightly stooped; his back to the sun. Sweat clinging the coarse denim shirt against his gaunt, slender frame. In spite of the relentless heat he felt a chill, deep inside. Cold to the bone. No clothing or blanket would warm that space; his needy soul and tattered heart.

The long, gold and maroon train, once again picking up speed. He watched its departure with mixed emotions. Waving a farewell to no one in particular. Passengers peering out of the now dusty windows; grateful to be moving again. Leaving behind the flat, unforgiving Prairies as the Transcontinental continued on its regular run, due West.

Faded brown-striped grip in one hand, the heirloom 12 string in the other. The latter, his only treasured possession. Handmade so many years ago. Lovingly polished and preserved. Miraculously unscathed in spite of life’s bumps along the way.

Too many miles; too many alone. Late nights and bar fights. Cheap booze, poker games and words gone awry. County jails and letters,never mailed.

Familiarity: once shunned, often despised, now craved. The old room. The same old stories. How they would make for a welcome, much-overdue change.

He trudged the last five, long miles along the well-worn path. Almost as worn as his one pair of shoes.

There would be shade trees so high and cool clear water, back on the farm. The now “old” dog announcing his arrival, long before he would tap on the frame of the carved screen door.  A warm welcome; wan smile? Her older but still beautiful face to greet him and hold him close? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Only to rest awhile. Not to look over his shoulder or “watch his back”. To slowly unclench his rough calloused hands. To sleep as if a young boy again, under the sun-dried handmade quilt, laid upon his single bed.

The green grass and greener pastures still to be found. But not now. Not for a while.

Coming home….

His bronze face relaxed. Looking up, he breathed deeply. The rays of sun reflecting a smile.

***

“The Homecoming” © 2008 Geraldine Helen Hartman. Revised 2015. 

PS: I wrote and first posted this story back in 2008.It came to mind the other night, when I was watching a movie about another homecoming. As I have many new readers here at My Poetic Path, I thought it was worthy of an encore. 😉 I hope you enjoy it.

Link to original post with readers’ comments

Photo courtesy of Flickr

 (Note: use of this photo was allowed when I downloaded it in 2008, but has since been disabled.  My thanks to the photographer for an excellent image that I think complemented this story so well. 

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Author: Geraldine

I am a freelance writer, poet, artisan, avid book/product reviewer and award-winning cookbook author. I recently published the second volume of my new vegetarian cookbook series: -The Groovy Green Kitchen II: Simply, Super, Supper Soups and my fun and inspirational book, all about aging well: -Laughing AT the Grim Reaper! Gems of Wisdom for Aging Well I am also the author of: -The Groovy Green Kitchen: Weeknight Veggie Slow Cooker -Third Chapter, Second Chance (a mid-life romance) -Not Just for Vegetarians: Delicious Homestyle Cooking, the Meatless Way and the poetry collections: -Haiku Reflections:The Four Seasons (Volume i and II) and -My Poetic Path All titles available at Amazon.com, .ca, UK.... When I'm not writing or creating new recipes, I love to knit and crochet; usually with some "help" from feline friend, yarn-loving Mr. Cheddar! I hope you will visit and enjoy all of my blogs.Thanks for stopping by. Wishing You a Happy Week and Namaste! :-)

6 thoughts on “The Homecoming ( a short story, encore post)

  1. This glimpse into the thoughts of the “Prodigal Son” was deeply moving. 🙂

  2. Geraldine, this piece was so touching and beautifully written! I could actually SEE this man and SENSE who he was (past and present) by the way you wrote this. Well done, my friend!!!!

    *applause*

    And you’re right, the photo complimented this story perfectly!

    Thanks for sharing and have a faaaaabulous week!

    X

    P.S. Love your new blog header!

  3. well-written short story!

  4. I’m glad you enjoyed it Ruinwen!

    What a lovely comment Ron, thanks so much. I enjoyed re-reading this story too, glad I thought of re-posting it here. I’m glad you like the change in header too. 🙂 Green for the greenest time of year!!!

    Thanks Rose.

    Have a great week, G

  5. Excellent story. You can feel the emotions this man is going through. Hope you write more short stories.

  6. I can imagine him standing there, pausing, waiting & thinking, nice story. the photo is just perfect for this.

    have a lovely day.

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