It’s not unusual for people here to go missing. You see, it happens all the time in almost the same exact pattern. Someone drinks too much, forgets what's going on and never comes back. I just never thought my dad would be it’s next victim.
Three days ago, I received a call from my mother. A call I was reluctant to answer. Recently, I stopped answering my phone when my mom’s name appeared on my caller ID. It seems as if her new favorite pastime is to constantly bombard me with questions I honestly do not want to answer, but for some reason I picked up the phone this time and answered her call. I guess, I just knew something wasn’t right. Little did I know it was not a false instinct. The call proceeded with practically incomprehensible words and unrecognizable sounds, but somehow I managed to hear the words “Dad’s gone”.
My dad’s disappearance has left my mom a complete disaster, A bigger mess than after my grandfather died, a bigger mess than after my grandmother died, a bigger mess than when I left for college four years ago ,and a big enough mess to allow myself, to convince myself, I need to go back.
It's strange being here. I guess I just never pictured myself back again,standing at my childhood home’s door, just seconds away from re-entering the world that I left behind years ago. I couldn’t get myself to do it. I couldn’t get myself to just knock on the same door I’ve approached my whole life. This shouldn’t be so difficult, but yet it strangely is. It’s as if this one knock could determine my entire future. But it has to be done. So I raised my hand parallel to my forehead and banged a rhythmic pattern against the door.
“Tom!,” my mom shrilled, “I’ve missed you.”
“It’s been awhile,” I answered, trying to shield my true enthusiasm for hearing her voice in person.
She proceeded by leading me into the living room. Empty wine bottles and glasses seemed like decorations as they occupied the many tables that filled the room. I could smell the alcohol on her breath. I’ve been exposed to my mom’s “love” for alcohol since I was a kid ,but she seemed almost out of control.
“Tom, please sit,” she continued, using her hand to guide me over to the wine stained couch.
“How has college been? I hope you haven’t missed home too much.”
I could tell my mom was trying to hide her burning desire to just let everything out and cry. I almost wished she would. I knew that she was bottling her emotions up by unbottling wine.
“Tom, please stay for dinner,” she added.
I couldn’t stay. I could. But I can’t.
Watching her like this is too painful. More painful than being punched in the face or watching almost everyone I care about go. But I know that if I leave she’ll eventually go too. So I stayed. I started to smell my grandmother’s favorite dish coming from the kitchen and suddenly I felt just like the thirteen year old I used to be.
After dinner, I looked around the living room. I remembered how this used to be my oasis. I would spend hours here drawing, watching T.V. ,or patientially waiting for my best friend to ring my doorbell. It’s strange how things can change so quickly. It feels like it was only a week ago I left this place and it feels like it was only a week ago I saw my best friend for the last time. I’m not even sure where he lives now. I wonder if he ever escaped. There are so many people from my childhood that seemed so relevant then but so painfully distant now. I now stood on the weathering concrete steps of my old home, my home, and reflected. Even though I am standing still, I feel as if I am walking through the neighborhood right beside my best friend. Just the way it used to be. I can hear the pine trees singing as the wind flows through them. I can see seemingly lifeless locals meandering through the streets pretending like they have somewhere to go, and I can feel the vibrations of the basketballs as they compress against the cold court right before being shot into the net. It was right then that I realized that this place would always be my home.