Holiday Homecoming

#12DaysofChristmas #FreeWritingChallenge

Welcome Everyone to another day of #FreeWritingChallenge

This also begins something special we’ll be doing for the challenge called #12DaysofChristmas

Today’s prompt is inspired by the line “A partridge in a pear tree.”

So without further ado, here’s my first Christmas themed story.

Enjoy!

***

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The mini heater was aimed at Brenda’s feet. Despite being covered in fuzzy socks, her feet were still cold.

The rest of her body was warm thanks to her blue, snowflake sweater along with the fleece throw drapped over her shoulders.

Sipping on her caramel-flavored coffee, Brenda watched the news. After giving the weather report about a seventy-percent chance of snow, the news switched to a story about a man returning home from Afghanistan.

Tears formed in her eyes, Brenda quickly shut off the television. However, the image of the soldier reuniting with his family replayed in her mind.

It made her think about her son, Matthew. When he announced he was joining the Army after graduating high school, Brenda voiced her concerns. This led to arguments between the mother and son. Despite her objections, Brenda reluctantly supported Matthew’s decision.

Yet, her worry never stopped. It grew when Matthew was deployed overseas. Brenda’s stress over her son increased every day she didn’t hear from him. When she didn’t get a letter or call, she wondered if something bad had happened.

It’d been two weeks since she last heard from him. She tried to remain calm, yet the worry increased. She waited for the moment where they’d be the knock on the door, followed by the sad news.

Brenda shook her head. She wouldn’t allow herself to think the worse. Yet, every now and then her mind wandered to that dark place.

Arising from the couch, she looked at the living room. She put up the tree this year, although it wasn’t the same without Matthew here. Underneath, the tree was bare with the exception of one gift bag and a basket of pears sent from Cousin Doreen.

Normally, the season would be joyous, but Brenda wasn’t in a celebratory mood.

Feeling depressed, Brenda needed to get out of the house. Grabbing her insulated coat, she bundled up before heading out. Stepping out onto the wooden porch, Brenda noticed the gloomy sky. It was a good match for her current mood.

She shook off the sadness, then began the trek around the block. As she stepped out of the driveway, she noticed a bird flying in front of her. The gray bird landed on top of a nearby bush.

Brenda watched the bird, she always thought they were beautiful animals. Her grandmother used to say “birds bring happiness and peace.”

“I could use some right now.” Brenda watched the bird a few more seconds before the little guy flew away.

Brenda strolled the streets, admiring the neighbor’s decorations. Some of them kept it simple, while others went all out. Strands of lights covered every surface of the home, while inflatables of every Christmas charters were planted in the yards.

The sight of Santa and reindeers put a smile on Brenda’s face.

Nearing the corner, Brenda spotted the brick church. She stopped in her tracks as she watched parishioners going inside.

Brenda was a woman of faith, yet over the past few months she began to lose trust in God. The situation with Matthew is what caused her to lose faith. She wondered if God was peaceful, why was there so much destruction in the world.

She used to pray every night, yet she hardly said a word. She figured nobody was listening to her prayers.

Brenda was about to turn around when she spotted a gray bird, the same one from her driveway. The bird was perched on the railing of the church as he stared at Brenda.

It was almost like he was sending her a sign. She walked closer to the bird, who held his spot.

She glanced up at the wooden doors, then when she turned back to the bird, he was gone.

A part of Brenda wanted to leave, but something told her to go inside.

Patrons lined the pews and altar, saying silent prayers for their loved ones.

Brenda took a seat in the back. Glancing up at the candlelight altar, she felt a need to pray.

Closing her eyes, she clasped her hands together.

“Dear God, all I ask is that you bring my son home. I’m worried about him. I just need to know that he’s okay.” A tear rolled down Brenda’s cheek. “I know I haven’t talked to you much. But I’ve been dealing with a lot. I’m just concerned about Matthew. Then I’ve…I’m ashamed to admit it, yet I wonder if you even listen.”

Brenda raised her head, then wiped away the tears. Rising up from the pew, she took one last look at the altar before leaving.

On the way out, she ran into Reverend Parsons.

“Brenda, it’s been so long. It’s so nice to see you.”

“It’s a pleasure to see you too.” Brenda smiled faintly.

“I know you’re going through a rough time with Matthew being deployed.”

Brenda nodded.

“I just want you to know, you have a home here with us. If you need anything, just let us know.”

“Thank you, Reverend.” Brenda shook the elderly man’s hand before walking towards the door.

“Brenda.”

She stopped in her tracks upon hearing her name.

“Just remember. God does listens and he answers your prayers. It just takes time.”

Brenda nodded at the reverend’s words before stepping out into the cold, dusk evening. She didn’t realize she was gone for so long.

Snowflakes began to fall as Brenda increased the pace of her walk. She wanted to get home before it got too bad.

By the time, she reached the house, a steady pour of snowfall was coating everything. Brenda carefully walked up the driveway, but almost lost her footing when a rustling sound emerged from the bushes.

Once again, the gray bird flew out. He briefly landed in the snowy yard, before taking off again. Brenda shook off the incident, then made her way inside.

As she entered the foyer, she was met by the aroma of coffee. Peeping down the hall, she noticed the kitchen light on.

Thinking she may have accidentally left the light and the coffee maker on, Brenda rushed down the hall. When she reached the kitchen, she was met by the sight of tall man dressed in jeans and green sweater. His dark hair was shaved into a buzzcut, yet Brenda recognized him from anywhere.

“Matthew.”

“Hi mom.” Matthew turned away from the coffee pot. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“What are you doing here?”

“I just came home a few days ago and I thought I’d surprise you.”

Overcome with emotion, Brenda hugged her son. “This is a surprise. You don’t know how worried I was.”

“I know.” Matthew held on tightly to his mother. “I’m sorry for not writing.”

“It’s okay.” Brenda pulled away to look at her son. “The main thing is you’re here.”

“It’s good to be home.”

Brenda tried hard to control her tears, but it was no use. This was a happy moment. Her prayers were answered, her son was home. That’s all she ever wanted.

The End

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