Snow soaks my shoes, reminding me it's foolish to be out on a night like this, but I can't help myself. It's as if that house is the light and I am the moth drawn to it's flame. There was a time when I could have told you how many steps it took to carry my mother's apple pie, piping hot from the oven, to the little church there on the corner. Just in time for the winter festival. Every year another pie and every year another blue ribbon to tape to the refrigerator door until winter came around again.
Then there was the time our family and the Hurley family next door tried to see who could make the biggest snowman after the blizzard of '88. You should have seen it. Kids in the neighborhood picking sides and cheering us on. Me running indoors to grab an old scarf and gloves to help decorate the smooth boulders of icy snow my dad managed to stack on top of one another. He even had to lift me up high so I could add the carrot nose. A cold night like tonight sure brings back the memories.
I stamp my feet to get some feeling back in my toes. I even turn up the collar of my Army issued coat but it does little to keep the wind from sneaking its way under my shirt and a shiver runs up my spine. I know what they will be doing right now. Mom making a pot of hot tea. Dad settling down in that lopsided recliner with the newspaper while the day's news drones on softly in the background. Just a few steps keeps me from the warmth of that house but it seems more like miles. Will I be welcomed back? Or will they search my eyes for the answers to questions they are too afraid to ask?
Just a few steps between the cold snow I'm standing in and the world I once knew, but all I can think of right now is how will they handle my homecoming?
(Okay...now here's where you, my readers, come join the fun! What happens next? Does he knock on the door? Do they welcome him? What do they say? Why did he leave? Why is he afraid to return home? Does he simply fade back into the night? You decide...add a sentence or add a paragraph. Let's see where this picture takes us!)