a son’s epiphany

Posted: May 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

I was dazed as my dad half-dragged me toward the house, yelling instructions to the farm hands as he went.  I felt every blister on my feet.  My last meal had been yesterday – maybe that was why the world was a little blurry around the edges.  All around me was the farm and I remembered how much hard work it had always taken to keep the fences and buildings in such good repair.  Who had been doing all this work?  Had my dad had to pay an extra hand?  And out of an estate cut dramatically in half, thanks to my choice to walk away with the rest.  Yet, he was smiling, shouting.  This would be the day, he proclaimed, for the feast of the fatted calf!  Wouldn’t that calf have been set aside for an important occasion, like maybe my brother’s wedding? 

Where was my brother?  I glanced around, but there were only farm hands. 

The front door burst open and that blurred, crumpled face rushing toward me was my mother.  Her arms were around my neck, her hot tears against my cheek.  What had I done to my mother? How could I bear her gladness at my return, even as the pain of my leaving must have inflicted on her finally dawned clear inside of me?  I stood silent, searching for words that would not be excuses.  Words that would not be selfish or shallow.  Words worthy of this woman, worthy of this moment.  The housekeeper had followed her out the door; the shock in her eyes made me suddenly aware of the dirt ground into my skin, my floppy clothes that had once fit, my greasy hair.  How could I have appeared before my mother like this?  I closed my eyes, wishing I could start this day over and think this time.  Think of the effect of my appearance on my mother.  Think of how I might make her proud, rather than making her cry.  I hadn’t been thinking.  I had been plotting – just working my mind incessantly to find the right words to get what I had wanted. 

I had been thinking of me, not her.  Not her at all. 

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