Verbosity21's Blog
Short Stories by Ralph Proenza– mostly Fiction, but some based on true events

*COMING HOME


The Bus Station

[I found the picture at the right and wrote a story about what it evoked in me.]

The voice blasted from the ceiling speakers and echoed within the concrete cavern that made up the bus station.  Amidst the choking odor of diesel exhaust, another bus was leaving.  Tim Stockard was temporarily aroused from his thoughts.  For a moment he was back six months before, hearing of his parents’ car accident, and of their being killed.  A bus had stopped at the scene of the accident.  It had smelled just like this place!

Even now at 16, Tim felt betrayed.  It wasn’t fair.  Why did they have to die and leave me and Catherine to fend for ourselves? he thought bitterly.  After the terrible accident Cathy had withdrawn into herself, clinging to Tim.  He looked at his thirteen-year-old sister staring blankly at the people milling around.  The tragedy had left a cold empty hole in each of them.  It just wasn’t fair!

Following the accident they had gone to live with their grandmother.  Granny was loving and understanding even in her own sadness, but their stay had been a foggy blur.  Then the letter showed up in the mail.

Tim read it now, for the tenth time, while waiting for their bus to depart.  It was from a Mr. Brady, a lawyer.  It seemed a bank safety deposit box had been left unopened following the tragedy.  The will had legally empowered Tim and Cathy to ownership of its contents, and they had to make the trip and be present when it was opened.

Tim had not wanted to return to their hometown now so full of painful memories.  They had departed and not looked back for six long months.  The loss had left a dark bitterness– a feeling shared equally by both kids.  It was as if their parents had somehow deliberately abandoned them.

Greyhound Ameri-Cruiser to Macon, Atlanta, and points North now boarding at Gate 4“, boomed the loudspeaker.

“That’s us, sis.  C’mon, let’s go.”  They quickly found two vacant seats and settled in for the 7-hour trip.  After what seemed like stopping at a thousand little towns, their trip ended.

On arrival, Mr. Brady, the lawyer, was waiting for them just as he had said in the letter.  He greeted them warmly as they walked out of the Depot.

“Okay, Tim and Catherine,” Mr. Brady continued, “I  have reserved a room at a nearby motel for you.  Is that alright?”

“Uh, yes sir, that’s fine, sir,” Tim replied.  “We brought some money for that.”

“Excellent, but all that has been taken care of.  I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning at ten.  Okay?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Tim, I knew your father, and I …well, I think he would have been proud of you.  You seem to be very mature.  You too, Catherine.”

“Thank you, sir.”  Yeah, Tim thought, tragedy does that you.  Specially when your parents just dump you…just check out without even a goodbye!

The motel TV occupied Cathy’s attention, but Tim had been working on an idea.  “Cathy, let’s go home.  I mean our old house–where we used to live.  She stared up at him questioningly, her eyes big as saucers, as he called for a taxi.

~~~~~~~~~

A short time later the cab left them in front of the house.  Tim still had his old house key with him.  Using it now, they entered nervously.  “Do we hafta do this, Timmy?”

“Yes, sis.  We really do.  Let’s just get it over with.”  The house had been prepared to lie dormant:  furniture covered with sheets, closets emptied, clothes and personal items boxed up.  It all looked coldly unfamiliar.  Tim found himself in the attic where their dad had built a combination play and storage room.

He groaned audibly and heard Cathy gasp as the painful memories came rushing back.  Photographs were plastered everywhere on the walls.  Happy scenes from birthdays and Christmases past, of vacations, football games in the yard, and Halloween parties.  Their parents’ smiling faces looked at them with the same caring warmth and love that their grief had pushed aside for months.  Suddenly that warmth came back to them, flooding their senses like a tidal wave.  And Tim remembered…he remembered what had been lost for so long.  Cathy understood too, and a tear ran down her cheek.

“They really loved us, Timmy, didn’t they,” she wimpered softly.

“They really did,” he said choking.  “How could I have forgotten?  They didn’t want to die and leave us stranded.  What a jerk I’ve been.”  Tim rocked Cathy in his arms and tearfully whispered, “We’re gonna be alright now, sis, we’re gonna be alright!”

Standing in front of their parents’ gravesite, Tim was the only one to speak.  “Dad, mom, we’re okay, now.  I, uh, was stupid for hating you since the accident.  I guess I just had to grow up some more.  Thanks for loving us like you did.  And dad, thanks for college, I mean, that surprise you left in the box.  Wow!  Now Cathy and I can both go to college.  I still can’t believe that!  We…love you.”

Two days later they were back at granny’s with a new outlook and without any gloom to carry around.  Cathy was bubbly and bright like she used to be; Tim had a twinkle in his eye and a bounce in his step again.

And the bank safety deposit box?  Inside they found stocks and bonds valued at a little over $500,000, along with a note:  “Dear Tim and Cathy, because we love you so very much we bought some stocks when each of you were born, in case something ever happened to us.  You mean more to us than anything else in the world.  Love Always, Dad and Mom.

*   *   *   *

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6 Responses to “*COMING HOME”

  1. Suprise, I didn’t know you were a writer. I’m impressed. Very nice story.

  2. Very good, Ralph. Keep going after your dream!!!

  3. Ralph, that made my eyes water. So sweet. But I knew you had a sweet side – most of you is sweet – no, all of you is sweet.
    I remember your story of the notes to your wife in the “little cabinet.”
    And there is Don Shrum!! I have wondered where you are.

  4. Dr. P.
    That is really good. I’m going to get brave enough really soon to start a short story. Had it on my mind for some time now. Just haven’t had the story line to pop in my head yet. I’m not sure if I can slow my brain down long enough to write; but if I can read, surely I could. Glad you gave me this blog site.


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