Friday 23 – Monday 26 November 2012
The first three paragraphs of this piece came really easily to me, fully formed and almost tangible. I can’t explain why but they are three paragraphs that I enjoyed writing and that I am one hundred percent proud of having written. Without wanting to seem egotistical, I quite possibly adore the first three paragraphs and the images they have left in my mind. Why can’t I write like that all the time? 😉
The tree-lined road remained largely unchanged since Lauren was a child. The Prentiss family moved to the area in nineteen eighty-two just after Lauren had turned eight. It was a change of pace for them, having spent the last six years in New York City while Mickey Prentiss, all-round nice guy, dad to Ben and Lauren, and devoted husband to Gina, worked as curator of a small gallery in the Village. Unable to sustain any kind of regular traffic through the art gallery, and with insurmountable and ever-increasing debts it had closed down leaving four permanent staff out of work. Mickey and Gina had decided that this was an omen of sorts, packed up the kids and the dog and headed back to Gina’s home state of Vermont. The rest, as they say, was history.
A few weeks short of fall and the leaves had already started to turn, some of them descending from their woody perches to decorate the road below. Lauren thought that it could have been her favourite time of year, except that she loved each passing season as much as the previous. But there was something about fall in Vermont, the crispness in the air, the changing colour of the leaves on the trees, that kept her coming home year after year. It was something more than family and home. Vermont was in her blood.
She slowly drove the avenue to her parents’ home. This was not the home that Lauren had grown up in; that had been destroyed by fire several years after her parents had found their current residence. It had saddened Lauren to learn of the old house’s fate. She had assumed that it would last forever, possibly surviving the Prentiss family, just as it had survived since the Civil War. But like everything eventually did, the materials that made up the childhood home of Lauren Prentiss succumbed to something greater than themselves. She lamented the loss once more as she pulled into the driveway of her parents’ house.
Sunday had always been family day for the Prentiss clan. It was a tradition that Lauren’s father assured her, dated back many generations. Her mother, however, had made light of Mickey’s grand family declarations regarding Prentiss family traditions, insisting that it was a tradition invented by Mickey as an excuse for not completing his share of household chores. Lauren noted that he’d never denied his wife’s light-hearted accusation, but bore them instead with a cheeky grin and flushed cheeks.
She turned off the engine, closed her eyes and sat almost completely still for a moment, just simply breathing. It was a ritual she followed every time that she returned home; it calmed her before the excitement of holiday season at home with the family. Lauren was oblivious to the fact that Ben had walked up to the driver’s side window and was peering at her statue-like figure. His gentle knocking on the window startled her. He smiled at her shock and motioned for her to get out of the car.
Her serenity shattered, Lauren got out of the car and threw her arms around Ben’s quarterback sized shoulders. His arms enveloped his younger sister and he lifted her off the ground in a bear hug.
‘I’ve missed you, kiddo,’ he said as he lowered her back to the ground. ‘I’ll get your bags.’
‘Back seat, Benny. Thanks,’ Lauren replied.
‘Gimme that one,’ she gestured to the black sports bag in Ben’s right hand. He handed it over without argument.
‘C’mon, stranger. Let’s go inside before the storm gets here,’ Ben said wrapping his free arm around her shoulders, ushering his little sister up onto the porch and in through the front door.
‘It’s good to be home, Benny,’ Lauren playfully nudged him in the ribs. He responded as he had done when they were children, yanking her ponytail in retaliation.
‘Mom, Pop, you’ll never guess who decided to take a Sunday drive and come visit!’ Ben charged ahead leaving Lauren hanging back in the hallway with a gentle smile spreading across her lips and one thought in her head.
‘Good to be home . . .’