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[2006: JAN-FEB] *WINNER* I'm Home, Goodbye

Rune Jolara

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The sun filtered through the tree limbs hanging overhead. A warm breeze rustled the leaves and birds could be heard singing in the distance. It was the perfect weather to run on the beach, feeling the sand between your toes, playfully splashing the water and laughing; but there was no sand, no laughter and no playfulness.

Silence was broken only by hushed sobbing. Tears fell wetting the faces of those standing beside me, yet no tears fell from my eyes; there was no hushed sobbing within me. Incense tainted the gentle breeze. My head remained raised, eyes staring at the cascade of red and white flowers spread over the wooden box we stood around.

I stood unmoved as the circle parted. People walked by, placing their hand on my shoulder and gave the customary condolences and well wishes. I nodded in acknowledgement but nothing more.

Inside I felt none of the things I should have felt. I was cold and distant. I wished nothing more than for this time to pass so I could get on with my life. Looking back now, I realize many attributed my coldness to mourning or shock. Little did they know that I was not mourning, nor that I had no need to mourn.

I was there only because it was customary and my responsibility to be there. I felt no remorse for the man whose body lay in the box. No one else knew what I knew. No one else cared to know nor cared to wonder why I had not been home in nearly 13 years. What went on behind closed doors stayed behind closed doors. That was the way it had always been.

“Take all the time you need,” the priest said as the last of the mourners left leaving me standing alone with the old man.

I nodded and the man walked away. “I’ve already had time,” I said still staring at the box. “A life time, I have waited for this moment. A life time to escape the things you have done to me.”

I stepped closer to the box. I knelt down and collected a handful of dirt. Standing, I held my arm out with my palm faced up. I opened my clenched fingers. The dirt slowly flowed over the side of my hand and through my fingers, crashing into the top of the box. A gust of wind blew some of the dirt away.

A tiny spark of emotion began to stir deep inside my chest as I watched the dirt float on the breeze. A tear rolled down my cheek. “Goodbye.”

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