by Terri Lynn
Twice I turned back towards home. And twice I merged back onto the highway in my original direction. Even though I had come 1,200 miles, the last few yards were the hardest. I paused where the blacktop gave way to gravel and reluctantly followed the driveway with my eyes. The cool air coming from the car’s vents only added to the chill I felt as I looked at the small house. The yard was overgrown with weeds; the screen door swayed in the August breeze.
My hands were clammy on the steering wheel and I realized I’d been holding my breath. Letting it out slowly, I took my foot off the brake and continued up the drive. Flashes of a past life came in waves: second hand shoes, homemade dresses, the sickly sweet smell of bourbon, mother’s worn, red hands, raised voices, the sting from father’s belt, hiding in the storm cellar until their black moods passed; unwanted images of an unhappy life.
I stood on the sloping porch, my fingers paused above the doorknob and I wondered again why I had come. As a child I felt nothing but fear and dread in this house, as a teen-ager I escaped, as an adult I swore I’d never go back. They were both gone now, there was nothing here for me. Yet, here I was. I took a deep breath and pushed the door open and stepped into stale air and silence.