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Home Again This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   Home Again

by A. L., Ludlow, MA



The car is gone; 4: 30 a.m. and you're still not here. I pace the floor, worried that you got in an accident because of your reckless driving that makes me never go with you when you leave.

What was that I heard four hours ago? A siren? Yes, a police siren. Then an ambulance. I worry if it was you, you crazy driver. I sit back in the kitchen, one lone light left on, wondering what would I ever do, where would I go, whose shoulder could I cry on if my idol, my hero, never came home. I worry every day if a war will break out and you and your other fellow Marines will be sent to fight and you'd get killed ... my idol. You say you want to go to a war; want to know what the thrill of it is like. How could you say that? You come home on leave and we pick you up at the airport. You carry your two camouflage bags and little yellow Conrail bag down to the car and I follow, right on your heels, smiling the whole way, happy to see you and eager to carry your heavy bags just to feel closer to you and make things a little easier on you since you worked so hard the past few months, struggling to be the best. I hang on to your every word, no matter how insignificant. You come home, put your bags down, and pick up the phone, speed dial all your friends numbers to say "Hey, I'm home. Wanna party tonight?" I sit in the same chair that I'm sitting in right now, watching your every move and getting a warm feeling all over every time you smile or laugh. After telling us what happened over the past three months, six months, year, whichever, you take the car, give Mom $20 for a few bottles of the liquor from the cellar, you leave to pick up your friends, and call over your shoulder "Don't worry, Mom, I'll be home in time for you to go to work." Two hours later I hear the sirens.

I can't sleep now. Mom went to bed, but I can't. I have to know if you're okay. I worry if the phone will ring. I sit in my chair in my t-shirt and boxer shorts and think a million thoughts and begin to cry, imagining the worst. Oh, please, please come home. It's 4 a.m. and you've never been out this late without calling and saying you'll be late.

At 4: 51, I see a pair of headlights zipping down the street. My heart leaps and I look out the window. The lights slow down and pull into my driveway, and I quickly jump up and shut off the light, realizing it's you. I hurry to my room and jump into bed, suddenly feeling stupid for waiting not wanting you to know I did. I smile as I hear you quietly open the door and tiptoe to bed. I go to sleep, setting the alarm five minutes early so I have time to slip into your room and watch you sleep before I get ready for school. An hour later the alarm goes off, and for a split second I resent you for "making me" stay up so late, waiting for you, worrying, but then I remember how much I missed you, and I sit at the end of your bed, watching you and listening to your regular breathing, looking forward to coming home from school and seeing you there, ready to tell me what a great time you had, how many pretty girls were "all over you," and what a terrible hangover you've got, but can't wait to go out again tonight. I sigh and smile, once again hanging onto every cherished word.

My brother is home again.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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