Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (02/28/19)
- TITLE: Home
By Catherine Borg-Fenech
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It had been five months now since she came here to try and start a new life. Five months and she still felt lost, confused and dreadfully homesick.
“Surely I’m meant for more than this”, she had said to her mother one afternoon. “I just can’t see myself stuck here forever!”
‘Here’ was her hometown. The ‘here’ she so often spoke of with such boredom in her voice was the place she had grown up in and the place which she now missed terribly.
She had shocked everyone when she told them she wanted to leave. Her life was pretty much planned out for her but in her heart that was the problem.
Now her heart was telling her otherwise.
“What about James?” her mother had asked. “He has more or less told you he wants to marry you, even if he hasn’t actually proposed”.
Her eyes filled with tears as she thought of him. She didn’t believe he could ever forgive her for what she had done.
“I’m not saying it’s over”, she had shot back, “Just that I can’t imagine living here with him for the rest of our lives!”
Deep down she had known that he would never want to leave. Maybe part of her thought she could do better?
She lay in her bed and stared up at the ceiling. Memories were filling her head.
“I know I hurt you”, she had said to her mum during their last telephone conversation. “And I know I made a terrible mistake coming here. But I’m too scared to come back now. People know what I did. What must they all think of me?”
Despite her mother’s best efforts to convince her otherwise, she had decided to stay away. She felt guilty, ashamed, and sorry for thinking her home wasn’t good enough.
She had never felt so lost and alone in her entire life.
The next morning brought heavy rain but she knew where she had to go. She set off from her flat and trudged her way along the cold, damp streets. Blinded by car headlights and trying to shield her face from the icy pin pricks on her skin, she fought her way through the busy streets, feet numb and fingers stinging.
And then she was there. And she saw the welcoming glow of the lights through the open door.
Stepping inside the noises stopped immediately. She no longer heard car tyres plunging through puddles or the steady drumming of the rain drops on the road. Instead, she heard her own breathing. Every noise she made echoed in the silence.
She felt peaceful and welcomed. She felt at home.
Entering the church with its almost empty benches and its glowing candles she took a seat near the back and closed her eyes. It had been so long since she’d allowed herself to come into His presence, so long since she’d spent any real time with Him, but it wasn’t unfamiliar.
She needed to make things right.
A whole hour had passed before she realised. She wasn’t ready to leave yet but the sound of another person coming in through the door at the back had interrupted her thoughts and stopped her mid-prayer. She sighed and sat back in her seat, still enjoying the peace.
She hardly dared to look.
It couldn’t be, could it?
Very slowly, she turned. And there he was. Frozen still it would appear until he’d laid eyes on her face and then letting out a relieved and emotional sigh.
“Katie!” he exclaimed again, his dark eyes twinkling and the look on his face transforming from concern to joy.
She smiled back, she couldn’t help herself as James reached out and took hold of her hands.
“My Katie!” he whispered, his eyes glistening now and his voice breaking. Squeezing her hands he brought them to his chest. “I’ve missed you so much!”
Katie looked at him and knew immediately this was right. She was meant to be here today. James and his strong faith had known exactly where to find her and there was a reason for that. God had brought them back together again.
He pulled her into his arms and held her as they both cried tears of relief and love.
“Katie”, he whispered in her ear, “Please come home!”
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