Home At Last – J. Ferguson

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The girl takes a deep breath at the front door of the quiet house. She’s finally home after a long tour overseas and she hasn’t been able to contact her family often. Just the sight of the front door causes memories of the past to overcome her. An older woman bandaging a little girl that fell off the monkey bars. A girl drawing chalk by the welcome mat. A teen in her prom dress hugging her mother in the doorway with tears ruining her makeup she worked so hard to put on. A crying mother hugging her once little girl who’s wearing a uniform and holding her bag of essentials. Back to the present. She can’t express how much she misses her family. Why is it so damn hard to open the door then? It was hard leaving, but how can it be harder returning from that horrible place? She finally gathers up her courage and reaches for the doorknob.

Inside it’s quiet. In the living room there are Christmas decorations up. A train is going around the tree and tinsel is hanging off the fireplace like a ribbon. The T.V. is showing the news, and there’s a woman in the recliner with silver hair and a beagle by her side. Oh god. Can it really be? The girl takes a step and the floor creaks. “Who is it?” the woman asks. “I wasn’t expecting anyone tonight.”

The girl’s heart leaps with joy as she finally gets to say, “I’m home.”

The old woman gasps and jumps out of the recliner, and turns around to see her little soldier girl home again. The girl drops her bags and hugs her mother, who she hasn’t seen for four long years, and she sheds tears of joy. The house is now overcome with sobs and laughter. This place is no longer a quiet house, it is a home.

Home at last.

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