A child's homecoming

This year we sent you an invitation and allowed our days to ripen in expectancy, anticipating you like a gift. But now you approach, some 50 yards down the road on foot, and we see you, hesitant, tugging your collar, seeing us as caught in the clapboard house, white and sullen in the waning winter light. Why do you return if you refuse to enter - if the sound of the baby's murmurings and the grasping of hands in the dark make you angry? We watch you from the window, knowing you resist this life lying richly under roof and beside neighbor. We are pleased with the porcelain clatter of our days and have lit bonfires to celebrate the grocer's wedding. But you stand there unconvinced and afraid of the heart's movements. So we turn from the window and leave you, your eyes tightening against the wind, struggling to submerge this awkwardness into a workable indifference. You will enter soon enough, and better that we be fussing over our food and the care of the young. You may slip in better that way - carrying water or baggage, tamping your boots free of snow. Then all we need do is turn and nod as if this were any day and not the event we have longed for and cultivated. Can you not see how our arms are open toward you, that they are filled with green light and that we love you here on the threshold?

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