Demy was standing outside for almost an hour now. It was almost midnight and it was freezing outside but he didn’t care. His old hands were holding a bouquet of red roses which could have already withered by his stare.
He knew the kids would be arriving in the morning. Even if he couldn’t hear a slight movement, he knew there was still somebody inside waiting for them. He peeked through the heavily curtained window once in a while, desperate to get a view.
He made several attempts but ran out of strength to move a few more muscles to make that press on the doorbell. Fear, together with the cold breeze, wrapped him. He began to become more anxious. He was afraid of how he would be welcomed, if he would be at all. He didn’t even know how he got the courage to be there.
He was about to leave when he heard a door being opened. Sensing the noise created by the screen door that probably had not been replaced for years, Demy knew that it was the back door.
Quivering, he made a few steps towards the backyard. The porch at the back was dimly lit. Hearing the silent rush of waves, he paused. He closed his eyes, remembering how good it felt to be there once again.
He stopped upon seeing a rocking chair move from the other side. He stared at the old lady facing at the beach, slowly rocking the chair back and forth. He guessed she was reading one of her hundreds of books.
With a few more deep breathing and fidgeting, he quietly said, “Merry Christmas, Betty…”
The rocking chair stopped and he could see the lady froze. Betty slowly turned her head and her eyes instantly welled up.
Demy moved toward her and handed her the flowers.
“You remembered…” Betty almost whispered.
He hesitated but made one more step to reach out for her hand. “I’ve made mistakes in the past and it took me this long to realize I shouldn’t have left you. I’m sorry…” He was trying to fight the lump in his throat.
With more effort, Betty stood up shaking her head. And with those same loving eyes, she said, “What matters is you’re here…”
Demy hugged her, hoping it could make up for the lost years. “I will never leave again…now that I’m home…”