Become a Fan
By Mike D Raymond
Sunday, June 24, 2007
Rated "G" by the Author.
Based on true events. My Father had this happen to him.
Working Title: Alone © Michael Raymond 2007
In the morning there had been a dreary rain but now the sky was clear with puffs of white clouds floating across the deep blue background. It is a perfect summer afternoon with just a hint of a gentle breeze as I walk briskly.
Then I catch sight of it. The towering chestnut tree dominates the front yard . The tire-rutted driveway and the wide verandah are just as I remembered. The paint is peeling and dry and the sun-baked roof of tin reflects the heat of day in waving mirages.
Apprehensively, I make my way to the front door, half expecting to hear Blacky announcing my presence.
I try the door but it resists my attempt. Still, is was no reaction from inside. Setting my kitbag down I knock rather too loudly in the stillness. Silence, and I wonder if anyone is home. Footsteps approach and the door opens an inch or two.
“Mother it’s me.” Now her face is framed in the opening.
“Didn’t you get your Father’s telegram?” She says sternly, squeezing her sturdy frame out onto the porch and closing the door firmly.
“Didn’t you get mine?” I ask with a smile. She busies herself by wiping her hands on the apron, the same white apron that I remember her wearing so often.
“I told your Father to send it. You could have saved all that train money and time!” Her face is the same; pouting and angry as always. It always felt like an imposition to speak to her.
“I didn’t wait for a reply. I sent the telegram from the station just before boarding the train.”
“Well you should have waited. It’s too late now,” she scolds. “You can’t stay here. Your room is rented out. We’ve no place for you here!”
I don’t know what to say now. “What about my things, Mother?”
“We thought you were dead. Your things were all sold long ago. Now you get yourself back to the station. I’ve got a lot of work to do today.” Just like that.
“He’s at the shop. Now don’t you go bothering him. He has too much work as it is. You should have been in touch long before now. You can’t just show up out of the blue. I’ve got to go now.” She’s inside and the door firmly shut in the blink of an eye.
I stand there a moment. Reaching into my pocket I examine the small amount of money that I have left. Shouldering my kitbag again, I descend those worn steps and look back at the two-story brick house. It was a house, never a home.
As I retrace my steps down the dusty road, I decide to stop by Dad’s blacksmith shop anyway. He should know that I made it home. I doubt that Mother would tell him.
She wasn’t my mother anyway.
There was enough for a ticket back to Halifax. Perhaps the job at the YMCA would still be available.
Things had come full circle it seemed. The echo of her words back in 1937 came to me as I trudged along. “You can’t stay here, “ she had said.
Back then the navy had wanted young men. Now it had no use for them, especially those who had been injured. With all the young men returning from war, Halifax didn’t want them either.
As it turned out, Halifax was home after all. Up to now it had never been a place one wanted to be. Now it was the only place left to go.
I stop at the top of the road and look back at the place where I had grown up. It had actually been less of a home than I remembered. It had seemed a place to go after the war, after the healing. I realize something now. I had been alone here too.
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