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Going Home

Waiting for the Perfect Time to Accept the Invitation

By Judey Kalchik Published 3 years ago 3 min read
Going Home
Photo by Tierra Mallorca on Unsplash

My father walked me down the aisle when I was 19 years old. As we stood in the back of the chapel waiting for our cue he squeezed my hand and said "Are you sure? Just let me know and we'll keep on walking out the back door." I laughed and told him I was sure.

"Well," he said, "you can always come back home. But only once. If you come home you stay home. So pick your once wisely."

And then we got our cue. And walked down the aisle. And I held his arm while we walked straight and proud. And we didn't go out the back door.

And I got married.

Over the next 24 years I surely thought about that invitation. That promise that I could come home.

The issue is; that home wasn't always a sanctuary to me. That home was part of the reason I married at 19. Married young, my husband and I had a lot of growing up to do together. And, when it reached a point that his growing meant he moved out, I thought about that invitation. The draw to run back home and be someone's child was strong.

But I had two children of my own. And I didn't. who was going to show them how to be a strong woman?

So I passed on that chance. I might need it more another time.

My husband moved back home. For a while I hoped that things would be good again. That we both were drawn back to each other. That the four of us could be a family. And when it became obvious that moving back in was more of a practicality than a declaration of love, I thought about that offer again.

I could go back, and take my daughters, and give up. I could go back to trying to make him proud of me.... but to do that would mean admitting I had failed. I decided preparing myself for a time that I would be on my own made sense. (And if things worked out, by some miracle, then I would be all the stronger for The Plan.)

Unfortunately, becoming stronger myself was exactly the wrong thing to do to strengthen my marriage. My husband had fallen for an insecure girl looking for a safe harbor. I was no longer that girl.

As our marriage devolved and my husband became The Roommate I thought of the offer to go Home. But my parents had moved farther away from me. I didn't see how I could live there, work there, take care of my daughters there.

So I passed on that chance. I might need it more another time.

When, after 24 years of marriage, we divorced; I moved out on my own. I needed to work, and work, and work, and not think. My daughters were through school. One was out on her own (and I worried about her all the time) the other was at home with her father. I moved closer to work.... and then was offered a job out of state.

That; I took. I would start over again. Be a person no one knew. I could remake myself. I didn't go back home, I made my own home.

So I passed on that chance. I might need it more another time.

Old tensions flared between me and my father. Mostly, I was embarrassed and ashamed of being divorced. Mostly, I wondered why I wasn't good enough to be loved. Mostly, when I wasn't working, I was lonely. So I worked... a lot.

We passed a few emails back and forth. They were strained, formal. I had a boyfriend that made me laugh then broke my heart. My sisters had children, my brothers drifted away, and that home was long gone to me. A place for strangers, not for me. But I was fine. Happy at work. And learning again to be happy at love. I had time, and no need to return to home.

A call woke me up on a blizzardy February morning. My father was gone. He used his father's rifle after a last bowl of ice cream. So, no more decisions. No more chances. No 'another time'.

My father would be a great-grandfather now. This year, one of his great-grandson's will share his middle name. My daughter misses her Pap-Pap. And I wonder about the time I knowingly missed. Time I could have spent with him, had I gone home. Would things have turned out the same? Would I have seen something happening? Could I have changed it, if I had? Would I ever have made my father proud of me? Could I ever be sure of him?

I don't know. I'll never know now. There's no going home.


About the Creator

Judey Kalchik

It's my time to find and use my voice.

Poetry, short stories, memories, and a lot of things I think and wish I'd known a long time ago.

You can also find me on Medium

And please follow me on Threads, too!

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Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (1)

  • Mariann Carroll2 years ago

    I read when this story was first published, I read it again. I already hearted so, I give it an insights. :)

Judey Kalchik Written by Judey Kalchik

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