The field was full of dandelions, as far as the eye could see. The house that was once more like a prison, looked so small to him now; but he couldn’t deny the sick feeling brewing in his stomach. He stood there on the edge of the dirt road, debating if he should get any closer. He wasn’t sure if he could, but he had come so far already.
He kicked a rock across the road and took a deep breath. He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to journey back to a glimpse of her. He opened his eyes and knew he had to go in no matter what the cost. He took a step forward, crushing dandelions under his feet as he marched toward the house.
The paint was peeling and the gutters were rusted. The cement steps leading up to the door were cracked and broken. The screen door screamed its reluctance as he pried it open and turned the knob to the front door. Dust particles stirred and danced in the sunlight as he pushed it open. Clearly, no one had been here in ages, and he wondered if they were the last ones here. She never did lock the door behind her.
He walked into the kitchen to see her old table just as it was. He could see her standing in front of the stove stirring something in the pot; smell the familiar spices she loved to cook with. He continued through to the living room and saw her lying on the couch trying to rest before his arrival. He remembered he always stood in the doorway for a few minutes, unwilling to disturb her. She would smile and say he hadn’t woken her and ask about his day.
He closed his eyes for a minute, feeling the pain in his heart slowly spreading through his body. He thought he heard her call his name from the bedroom and started toward the door. It was slightly ajar and he hesitated before pushing it open, almost sick with fear. Her bed was still made with that worn yellow blanket. Her vanity littered with her creams, combs, and brushes. He could almost see her sitting in front of the mirror with her long hair loose down her back.
Overwhelmed with grief, he suddenly turned and ran from the house. He ran across the field until his chest burned and he couldn’t catch his breath. Blinded by the tears he could no longer hold back, he threw himself to the ground and sobbed. Why had he come back after all this time? What had he hoped to gain? He cried until he had no tears left. He rolled onto his back and looked back toward the house. He could see the window near the chimney and thought he glimpsed her waving to him. How he longed to talk to her and hear her words again.
He knew at that moment, he had returned hoping to find her once more. He felt a surge of anger at the forces that took her from him, but no level of retribution would bring her back, and he would never fully let go of her. He thought perhaps he should simply burn the house down and erase all trace of her. But nothing would erase her from his mind, and nothing would free him of himself.