Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: ABSENCE MAKES THE HEART GROW FONDER (02/28/19)
- TITLE: No Place Like Home
By Stephen Kimball
LEAVE COMMENT ON ARTICLE
SEND A PRIVATE COMMENT
ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Peter was stuffing the last few items into the back of my 1972 Volkswagen 412 while I went inside to say my goodbye’s. My mother was pretending to read a magazine at the table when I came through the doorway - the mound of tissues gave her away. That’s when it hit me that I was about to embark on a journey that would change all our lives, forever. I held out my arms and in a flash was enjoying the embrace of this woman who had, with much longsuffering, endured me for almost eighteen years. All of the trials and tribulations of my youth swept away at that moment, as my sleeve bore the tears that rolled softly off her cheeks. Swiping away a tear of my own, my father offered a gentle pat on the back and we began to make our way out to the vehicle that would soon transport us to the great unknown.
“Keep it under a hundred!” His warm smile and a nod my way said, “Go on…you’re going to be okay son and we will be too.”
Despite my emotions, I had been looking forward to my “Independence Day” for a long time. I understood it wasn’t so much real independence as just a separation from almost everything I had ever known. I wasn’t completely alone. My best friend Peter, who had already completed his first year at the University of Florida, was traveling back to Gainesville with me. I could barely contain the rush of freedom I felt as we pulled out of the driveway and waved to my folks one last time. No curfew, no chores, no family game nights, no annoying sister, no more nagging…no rules!
Upon arrival, Pete helped me unload my things and get settled into my little one-bedroom furnished apartment that I was to share with a roommate that I had yet to meet. “How bad could it be?” I had reasoned when trying to find an affordable place to stay. I enjoyed a couple days of peace and quiet before ROTC Jimmy arrived and kindly brought along his Obsessive-Compulsive disorder. Jimmy wasn’t looking for companionship. In fact, he only popped in maybe three or four times a week – just long enough to scour the place and deride me for anything that didn’t sit right with his manic personality. Needless to say, it didn’t take long for me to realize that this “being on my own” thing was not all it was cracked up to be.
I had a rough beginning to my freshman year – the learning curve was pretty steep. I hadn’t seen it coming but I missed home more than I can say. Loneliness was new to me, oppressive, like a heavy cloak around my neck that couldn’t be removed. Thank God for my friend Peter. As is turns out, he was the little bit of home that I needed to get me through.
Thanksgiving break was to be the first opportunity we had to head back home and, no doubt, I was more excited about it than I had been about my “Independence Day” just ten excruciatingly long weeks prior. I couldn’t wait to see my family, my girlfriend, my dog and even my sister. An unusually early burst of cold weather was hitting the state just as getaway day finally arrived and it was about thirty-five degrees frigid outside and inside, as the VW had no heat and a nice refreshing draft. Neither of which had I previously seen as a problem (living in South Florida). Paying little attention to the inconvenience, we donned our blankets, counted our blessings and headed out. On this day, not even the frozen tundra of the Florida Turnpike could dampen our spirits.
The whole family met us as we pulled into the driveway, ready to melt away the cold with warm embraces all around. Looking back on it, things changed that day - I changed. Never again to take for granted those who love me most. As my father held open the front door for everyone to enter, I smiled and placed my hand on his shoulder, “You think we can have family game night Sunday, like we use to do, dad?” I was so glad to be home.
The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.