The brakes hissed and screeched as the train slowed down to a stop on that crisp fall afternoon. Yousef stepped off wearing ill-fitting clothes, his life’s possessions jammed into a solitary plastic bag.

He looked across the street. His father, Peter, was waiting for him in his jalopy. It pained Yousef to see his father’s face riddled with lines drawn by years of grief, instability, and loneliness. His hair long ago had abandoned itself of all color— white replaced the fiery red. His father’s eyes were newly wetted with tears— he had a pronounced curved back from years of hard labor.

Peter slowly opened the driver’s door, swung out his legs first, and pushed his long-ago tired body up to an almost straightened out position. Ignoring his son’s unkempt appearance and gaunt frame, he walked across the street and squeezed him with the forgiveness only a father could offer up.

“Yousef, my son, it’s time… Let’s head home.” He whispered.

***

Autumn came again. Another year had passed. Yousef received the settlement from his wrongful imprisonment lawsuit and thereafter moved from their tiny apartment. He bought them a humble, rust-colored house deep in the woods at Harvest Oak Lane. His father’s smile gained warmth once more, things deservingly became cemented in comfortability and predictability. Yousef busied himself in the kitchen making apple and mincemeat pies. His frame filled out because contentment, after all, will cause such things to happen to a man.

Prayers were offered up daily. Peter and Yousef had found their forever home. They prayed they’d forever remain together, that things would forever remain dear.

***

The cold crept in earlier that year. Cloudbursts became a daily affair. As did that plangent crash. The rainstorms created deep mud puddles, you see, slick trails, and turgid brooks. Sharp eddies and swirls of grounded sallow leaves ate at those king-sized, naked trees surrounding that humble home. Yousef and Peter spent endless cold evenings tucked away inside watching their favorite television programs and films, the same line up every night—that same crash.

All prayers had been answered.

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Margarida Brei
Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
17 days ago

Sweet story which I am glad ends happily.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
17 days ago

A lovely story of a father and son’s love for each other, Melissa. And although the crash would not have been how they would have wanted their lives to end, they did indeed get their wish… together forever. Nicely done.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
16 days ago

Great story with a lovely ending, Melissa. Well done.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
Reply to  Melissa Taggart
12 days ago

You’re welcome.

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