The snow blanketed the pastures alongside the highway as I drove home. It looked white and pure. The next thought that ran through my mind was, but all things white get dirty. This is my first time going home in two years. I left right after my divorce was final.
I had to leave, or I would have gone back to Bryson. My heart was broken beyond repair. I thought our love was pure and honest, but it wasn't. From the beginning of our marriage, he cheated on me. When I found out about all the personal ads and the one time meets tears strolled down my face. I wiped them away, but my vision became blurred as I cried harder.
I pulled over to the side of the road to get myself together to be able to continue my journey home. I prayed I wouldn't see him. I thought the pain had subsided, but the closer I got to home, the more I wanted to turn around. I couldn't. I promised my parents I would come home for Christmas this year.
I pulled back on the highway and forced myself to bury my emotions. I pulled into the driveway of my parent's farm and stopped. I looked around at the familiar surroundings I had known my whole life. The farmhouse that was once thriving with life looked as if it was aging with my parents. The once white paint had turned brown from the dust. The screens on the front porch were rusty and no longer silver.
Continuing to drive up to the house, I looked over and saw my horse Jigger eating hay. He looked fat and healthy. I smiled thinking about the many rides I had with him around the farm. He let me shed many tears with him and let me laugh with him over the years.
I stopped my car near the flower garden and honked my horn to let mom and dad know I was there. I got out of the car and went to my trunk to pull out my bags, but dad was already there to help me. He hugged me before pulling out my suitcases.
"Sharon, welcome home," he said.
"Thanks, dad. I'm glad to be home."
Mom came over and gave me a hug. "I have the coffee on. Come in and when you're unpacked and settled, we'll play some cards and visit."
Playing cards was something my family did for years. It's a family staple. We eat, and the cards come out. One of my uncles is so serious about card playing, if he loses, he throws the cards across the table. We laugh, and he gets madder.
Climbing the stairs to my room, memories flood through my mind about the many times I descended these to greet Bryson. We were high school sweethearts. I made my whole world about him. I thought about how he looked when he stood in the doorway with his cowboy hat in his hands in front of him waiting for me.
"Sharon, is everything ok?" Mom asked as she wiped her hands on her apron.
"I'm fine, mom. Just reminiscing."
"I hope not about Bryson."
I looked up the stairs and started climbing the rest of the way up. I set my suitcases on my bed and sat down beside it. My lavender comforter still looked the same. I looked at the toy horses that were lined up on my dresser exactly as I left them years ago.
I only planned to stay a few days so I decided to leave everything in my suitcase. I had to leave the day after Christmas. I hated this was a short visit, but the hospital didn't allow me much time off, and another nurse graciously took my shifts so I could come home. I agreed to work for her over the New Year holiday. She was young and fresh out of college, not to mention eager to do her part. She was easy to work with.
"Sharon, come down here. Steven is here."
I bounced down the stairs and gave my brother a big hug. When I pulled back, I patted his belly, "Are you having a baby or is that from a few too many beers?"
He laughed, "No, that's Beth's cooking. She's been on a baking kick lately and my belly is taking the hit. I've had to buy new jeans twice this year. I threatened to start wearing bibbed overalls if she didn't quit the cooking."
"Where are my niece and nephew?"
"Youth group. Beth is going to come by with them when they're done."
My sister in law was wonderful. Steven got lucky when he found her. She was tall, thin, beautiful, and the most giving person I had ever met. She was a true gift from God when this family got her.
Mom waved her hand in the air for us to go into the kitchen and sit at the table. She had cups of coffee poured and the cards dealt. I laughed because I knew she was anxious to be my partner in Pitch.
We played for hours. When Beth came she sat beside me and helped play my cards. The kids watched television in the living room. Every once in a while Steven yelled at them to quit snooping under the Christmas tree.
I realized I hadn't put my presents under the tree. "Krinlin, do you mind going upstairs and in my black duffel bag, there are presents in there. Can you bring them down? You and Taylor can put them under the tree for me."
Krinlin was my eight-year-old niece. She was two years older than Taylor. I thought this could be a way they could snoop through presents and help me. Steven knew what I was up to and kicked me under the table.
"Ouch! Why did you do that?"
"Because you're letting my kids get away with snooping!"
"An aunt's privilege," I replied laughing.
I got up and made a plate of peach cobbler that mom had made. "Steven, want to multiply that belly more? I can make you a plate?"
"You're not funny cracking jokes about my baby. Yes, I will have some cobbler."
Mom got up and helped me. I picked up two of the plates and turned around, "Good grief! The glare off of your head is blinding me, Steven! I can't make it to the table to give you your cobbler."
"Welcome home little sister. I see your jokes are still good. I added some glow to this bald head just to see if you would have a comment."
"You shined it up real well."
Mom and dad laughed. The next hour we laughed and played cards. I looked in the living room to see that Krinlin and Taylor had fallen asleep on the floor. Steven got up and wrapped blankets around them.
"Why don't you and Beth leave them here tonight? Go have fun and I'll watch them," I said.
Beth smiled big. "We don't get that offer very often. I need a night of dancing and letting off steam."
She took Steven by the hand and guided him to the door. "I guess you don't have to tell her twice," he said as he opened the door.
I stepped back when the door opened. No one knew Bryson was standing there with his cowboy hat in his hands in front of him and he was looking down.
"Sharon, I heard you were coming home. Can we talk?"
I looked from mom and dad to Steven and Beth. They looked as shocked as I did. "How did you find out I was coming home?"
"I heard it around town. It's been two years. Can we talk?"
I couldn't move. I couldn't speak. I didn't know what to say. The one person I didn't want to see, was standing in front of me. My heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and a lump was in my throat. I had mixed emotions of love and hate. I wanted to rush into his arms and kiss him and at the same time, I wanted to hit him.
I turned and ran up the stairs. I heard Bryson take a step towards the stairs. I turned, and Steven had his hand on Bryson's chest. "Don't. Let her go."
He had a pleading look on his face, "Sharon, I just want to talk."
Stay tuned. Will Sharon talk to Bryson? Will her heart allow her to be near him alone?