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Homecoming G.I.

By , West Chester, PA
The bus rolled up to the corner street, smoke pouring out of the rusted tailpipe. It was a mild Sunday afternoon in mid-June. Kids were amusing themselves with a stray dog, playing fetch and hula hoop, while adults were returning home from a long day’s work. The G.I. walked off the bus with a stoic look on his face. He had nothing with him except a briefcase which he clutched with his one good hand. The sun glimmered against his many medals. He took a few steps towards the side-walk, with nothing on his mind except the thought that he was almost home. His tour of duty had left him with numerous battle scars. He lost myriad comrades to the Japanese and even more to malaria.
“Home”, he whispered as he smelled the fresh-baked apple pie sitting on someone’s kitchen counter through a half-opened window. The bus drove off into the crepuscular light, leaving clouds of dust behind it. The G.I. strolled over to where some kids were playing. They caught sight of him, and with hesitant eyes, the leader of this troupe of youngsters asked, “Where’d you come from stranger?” The G.I. grinned with an amicable look on his face. The others behind him snickered, and one of the mouthed “Cripple”. Undaunted, the G.I. ignored this and continued on his way. As he passed streets where he and his friends would congregate, C childhood memories flooded his mind. A feeling of nostalgia swept over him. Men and women alike lingered, wanting to take a glimpse of him. They stared in admiration, some even having the boorishness to gawk at him. Again, G.I. was impervious to these looks of arrogance. The G.I. turned at the next corner street, facing a house on his left. Upon glancing at the house, the G.I. stopped and stared. A woman stepped out the door, bearing the same expression as the other neighbors on the street.

“Your....arm” she said. G.I. saw a tear come to her eyes.
“Hi Ma,” G.I. said, putting on his best smile. She rushed down the steps and gave him a welcoming embrace. Numerous people swarmed out of the house. Cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and old friends all came out to greet G.I. In this singular moment only a word came to his mind.
Home.





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