Coming Home

There was a girl on the side of the road, walking through the rain. Her hair was matted to her face and down her neck and back. Her clothes was soaked through. Cars drove by, the water spraying behind their tires to splash her.

A man sat on a porch as she walked the street. “Hello there. You look a little wet.” With a small smile he stood up and walked to the edge of his yawning, just before three white steps. Glossed eyes looked over to him, watching him, analyzing him, but saying nothing. She had not yet walked past him, still approaching his portion of the sidewalk. “You don’t need to stay out in the rain, you know. It’s a little wet. You’ll catch a cold.”

Her strides slowed until she finally stopped, looking at the ground. Straight ahead was the sidewalk along the road, continuing on the path she had been. But to the left was the man’s sidewalk. She could be dry. He looked like a kindly man, not that old, not that young, but he had on a polo shirt and khaki shorts with tasteful sandals. He smoked a pipe while reading a book. Now the book was face down on a small table, next to a tumbler of whiskey with ice.

There was a little balding on his head, and his beard was starting to get scruffy, but all the same he stood there, smiling, “I know you. You don’t want to be out there. Just take my hand. Come home. I can get a fire started, get you a drink, let you change into some warm clothes. It’s still here. Everything is still here. I don’t think you accidentally walked this way.”

Brilliant blue eyes turned to crescents as his smile increased. His cheeks turned deep red. “Please. Take my hand. Come home, honey.”

She looked at him sideways. Forward or left. This road or the warmth of home. The rain hid tears that she loosed silently. She nodded and turned towards the house. The man took her hand and helped her up the porch, embracing her despite her soaking wet garments. Soon his own clothes had soaked through, but it was okay. She was home, and the house was once more a home. He kissed her forehead and they went inside together.

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