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My Return

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Over half a year I’ve been gone. I’ve seen things my family will never see, and I hope they won’t. My footsteps sound heavily on the ground, and I shift the small duffel bag from hand to hand.
Will I be home soon, or will a bullet strike me at my last step? Or will I stand on a land mine, or a grenade thrown? A little boy spills a bag of marbles on the sidewalk, and I cringe, hearing the sound of gunfire instead. A car passes by and I wince, forcing myself not to throw myself on the ground and duck for cover.
I shake my head. I’m back. There is no war here. I take a breath and notice where I am: the townhouse where we’ve lived in for five years. How long have I been standing here, just staring at it?
The neighbors kids are calling out and Sam’s on top of the roof. He’s trying to fix that thing again? Ma runs outside and is waving her hand, tears coming down her cheeks as she laughs. Benny and his dog are sprinting towards me, their expressions resembling each others. I almost drop my bag. Little Mary, who was hardly three years old when I left, is peeking out from behind Ma, and then they all rush towards me.
I can feel myself smiling, and tears threaten to fall. This is why we’ve been fighting, I remember. Everything was worth the risk.





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