Home Coming

Home Coming

A Story by Rambling Storyteller

Man comes home after his father goes blind. Part of the Tomato Valley series

Thomas stepped off the bus and saw his mother, Martha. She hugged him and gave him kisses all over.
"Come on, ma. Not in public please," said Thomas. His mother fixed his collar.
"But, you're my favorite baby boy, come on and let's go. I made you mama's special ultra cheesy lasagna," she exclaimed.
"I'm your only baby boy," Thomas replied. The ride to the house was filled with chatter about the happenings of Tomato Valley. They both avoided talking about the reason Thomas came back, his father's blindness. Even though he was never close to his father, he still felt the obligation to come back.
"You know, Celia still asks about you," said his mother. Why is it mothers always feel the need to fix you up with someone? Do they want you to be happy or is it their need for grandchildren?
"That was ages ago, mom. And besides, you know how that ended," he said. "You know the most powerful words in the English language, right?" she said.
"Yes, mom. I am sorry," he replied.
"How long are you staying," his mom asked.
"Two weeks, you already know mom," said Thomas.
"I know honey, just, I want you to stay," she replied.
They pulled up to the house. It was far from the perfect condition he remembered. His father, a carpenter by trade, always kept the most minute detail of the house ship-shape. The paint was peeling and the boards were coming up from the porch. One time when Thomas was fifteen, his father made him repaint the entire house because he used the wrong roller. His dad was upset about something else, but he took it out on him, as usual. His sister, Emma, greeted him at the door with a hug.
"How's New York, do you go to a coffee shop with four of your friends?" she asked.
"That show is unrealistic, I'm constantly strapped for cash and my apartment is about the size of their kitchen," said Thomas.
"Thomas? That you boy? Come here and make yourself useful. I can't get this damned satellite dish to turn on," said Thomas' dad, Frank.
"Good to see you too, sir," he replied. He pushed a couple of buttons on the remote and the TV sprung back to life. His dad grunted in approval. Thomas' looked down but, couldn't hold back the tears.
"My sight might be gone, but my hearing is still good. You better knock it off that crying, boy. I'll be alright. Don't worry. Your mother is here to help me. You live your life. I've lived mine," said his dad.
"Dad, you're only fifty-eight. You can't even collect social security yet. Why don't you see another doctor," asked Thomas.
"Dr. Kowalksi is a damn fine doctor. If he says there's nothing they can do. I believe him," yelled his dad.
"Daddy, calm down, your heart," said Emma. Thomas threw up his arms. He couldn't believe that his dad was so sick and he didn't know.
"Why didn't you tell me," cried Thomas.
"You never called us back. It wasn't just something I was going to say on the answering machine," said Emma. Thomas remained silent. There was no response he could come up with that would validate his behavior. His dad started to wheeze and gasp for breath. He clutched his chest and shook his head.
“I’m calling Dr. Kowalski,” said mother.
“I’m fine Martha, no need to annoy the Dr. It will pass,” he responded.
“He says, he will be here in fifteen minutes,” said Martha.
Frank sighed. “Yes, dear.” He stood up and slowly headed towards the bathroom.
“Let me help you,” said Thomas.
“Boy, I’ve lived in the house for fifty-eight years. I know my way around,” said Frank.
“Don’t worry about it Thomas, you know how dad is,” said Emma.
Doctor Jameson Kowalski arrived in a wood stock t-shirt and jeans. He carried a small shoulder with his medical supplies. His wife Carol, also came, dressed much more formally in a pants suit.
“Why, look at you son, all grown up,” said the doctor.
  “Jameson, grab two beers, and sit down. I’m feeling much better now,” yelled Frank.
“Damn it, Frank, are you drinking. I told you no drinking. Is he drinking?” the doctor asked.
“Of course not Dr. K,” said Emma. She led the doctor into the living room. Thomas nodded to the doctor as he passed.
“Oh look at you handsome man, I saw Celia the other day at Riley’s General Store and she was talking about how you were coming back to town,” said Carol.
“Isn’t there bigger news than me coming back into town,” asked Thomas.
“No", said Carol and Martha in unison. The two ladies laughed and caught up with more small-town gossip in the kitchen.
In the living room, the doctor finished up his exam. He put his hand on Frank’s shoulder.
“You got to take it easy, old-timer, don't you want to see your future grandkids," asked Jameson.
"They go away and never speak to you anyway, ungrateful kids,” grumbled Frank.
”Thomas is a good...” before Jameson could finish his sentence, Frank yelled, “Don’t lecture me.”
”Everything ok,” asked Martha peering around the corner.
”Yes, Martha. But Frank’s got to keep his temper under control," said Jameson.
"I know just the answer, Ahem. Dinner is ready," said Martha.
"Well, we better be going," said Carol as she picked up her husband's bag.
"No, please stay Carol. Jameson, you can wait your a*s in the car," said Frank. They all made their way to the dinner table. They feasted on pork chops, butter beans, rice, salad, and mama's famous cheesy lasagna. It was just a boxed lasagna put in the biggest pan she had. Then add more sauce and more cheese until it was an ooey, gooey mess. As dinner wound down, the conversation went on about the most random things as they often do. Thomas smiled through his pain of seeing his father in such a frail condition. As he looked around the dining room he saw many things his father would have taken care of if he could. There was a spider web in the corner. The chair he sat in was wobbly.
"I'll take care of the dishes," said Emma.
"Boy, go help your sister and let the adults have a conversation," said Frank.
"I've been an adult now for seven years now dad," replied Thomas.
In the kitchen, Emma washed the dishes, Thomas dried and put them away.
"You know, dad's only like that cause he's scared," said Emma.
"Yeah, I know, still hurts you know. You're the girl and the baby. He's much easier on you," Thomas replied. The conversation started funny, then turned to the reality of what the situation was. Their father, at fifty-eight, didn't have much time left. He was in stage two heart failure. His eyes have degenerated to the point of blindness. The family carpentry business, that paid for Thomas's chemistry degree was going under. His parents had to take a mortgage on the house to keep it afloat. Now, his dad was sick, they would lose the business and the house. Thomas knew he was needed here. His dad had passed down to him, against his will, excellent carpentry skills. Thomas had made his decision. He would stay. He walked into the dinning.
"Ahem, I have decided to stay here and help you guys out," announced Thomas. Everyone was stunned. Thomas wondered if this was the right decision, was it too quick of a decision?
"Oh my baby boy is coming home," said Thomas's mother. She hugged him and kissed him as mom's do.
"Mom, please," said Thomas.
"Let me have this, we are not in public now," she said.
"You sure we aren't too small town for you city boy?" asked Frank.
"I have plenty of time for the city later," replied Thomas.
"Dad are you crying," asked Emma.
"No, of course not, it's the eye disease. Tell them, Jameson," said Frank.
"It is not Frank. Real men cry. It's ok," said Jameson.
"Ok, ya hippie. Didn't I ask you to wait in the car?" said Frank.
"I love you too, Dad," said Thomas.

© 2020 Rambling Storyteller

Author's Note

Rambling Storyteller
writing for fun

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Added on June 10, 2020
Last Updated on June 12, 2020
Tags: Story, small towns, home coming.