I don’t like my folks. That’s why I’ve left our ranch as soon as I could. All those animals and routine tasks weren’t meant for me. I wanted to see the world from every angle and not just one horizon. And that’s why I’ve tried to stay far away as long as possible. It took me ten years to come back. I am a man of my word; I would help them if they needed. But my parents never asked me for help and, when I knew that they were in need, it was too late. My father was sick, my mother is weary, and the ranch is poorly cared for. I never said that I wouldn’t help them. I am actually pretty chocked that all this happened.
I am twenty-nine years old, and I’ve spent ten years running to nowhere. Not only that, but I learned about the world, travelled between continents, and learned about their culture. Furthermore, I am a rich man. But those riches never helped my folks. And one of them is actually gone. I am to blame since I’ve only called once or twice a year on their birthdays. The mail was full of postcards, but what they really wanted and needed never came: their only son.
“You’re too late now.” The sadness within my mother’s voice crushed me.
“Why haven’t you said before?” It was not an accusation. I was only expressing my frustration.
“Your father would never let your dreams come to an end just because of a minor situation.” I felt my father's voice in her words. That only made me worst.
“I wanted to know. I had the right to know.” I rubbed my hand over my face.
“You never asked.” My mother never said anything more right in her life.
“I haven’t been the son of the year, that’s for sure.” We were all blaming me. And for a good reason.
“Don’t blame yourself.” She read my mind. “We don’t blame you. It was our choice too. We didn’t call you.”
“I should have asked.”
“We would lie, so you could travel move.” I didn’t fully believe her.
“You are trying to take the blame from me, but I am at fault. I’ve never visited in ten years.”
“You’re becoming what you are today.” She approached me, feeling my cheeks. “You are here now. That’s what matters most.”
“But he isn’t here anymore. Not really.”
“He lived the world from your eyes and calls.” The eyes of my mother got wet; my eyes started pouring too. “He was a proud father, seeing the world that his son was giving him to see.” She paused, to compose a few of her emotions. “You have to see for yourself. But first, let’s check your father upstairs.”
We went inside, following the corridor and up to the stairs. Time seemed to have stopped in that house, the same smell of fresh bread continued through the air, nothing in that house had changed places. It seemed almost like a museum. Finally, we reached my parent’s room. My father was sitting in a wheelchair, facing the window where you could see the old barn.
“Hello, honey!” My mother's voice was so soft and the tenderness could be felt in every word. “We have to show our beloved son your gift!” She took the wheelchair, and she nodded for me to follow. “Maybe you will have a good day today, wouldn’t you love it?”
It was a slow march. Nothing was said, my mother was mumbling something to my father, but I was lost in my thoughts. I didn't know when he was diagnosed with Parkinson's, it seems that the good days were already lost. Maybe we could get one moment to talk with each other, but nothing more. My father physically here but never with us.
“Come, son.” Said my mother, once we were in front of the barn’s door. “Your father comes here every day and loves this place.”
The old barn seemed abandoned from the outside, but, when I opened the door, a whole world was before my eyes: a human-size wood-framed box was in the middle of the barn. Within you could see all the countries and cities that I had traveled and shared with them: each postcard, gift, or moment was kept within those walls.
“Your father wanted to have your world within reach. He wanted you to have it.” My mom stated. “You can slide open the window door and go within. He got some music that you told us about and left there an MP3 with it. You can seat there and just be free again.” I could feel the tears behind her voice. I was so emotional, I never thought that he would take much time to do something like that for me.
“I don’t know what to say...” I whispered.
“Don’t say anything.” She touched our hands, embracing them together. “You are finally here, that’s all that matters.”
I went inside, going for the player that my father left me. I pressed play.
“My boy. I bet you can’t talk to me right now. I can’t wait for more adventures, and I am sorry. It was a pleasure to be happy with your happiness and feel you within these walls. I never had the courage to say that I love you like I had to. But I do. I love you, and you can’t imagine the fulfillment that you are in my life. Please, seat with me in this travel box and tell me all your stories. I bet I can’t answer you today, but I will embrace you, always! Love, Dad.”
I got out of that box of memories and ran to my folks, embracing them. My mother and I started crying, my father made us warm. I don’t know how much time went by. I didn’t care. I was home!
“I don’t need the world behind me anymore. I have you both. All that matters is us three together!”