072. Returning. Christina Holbrook

He pushes off from the beach, steadying himself as the canoe glides through the water. On the opposite shore sits the lake house, patient as stone.

The child he once was, all skinned knees and elbows, runs from house to shore to meet his middle-aged self. Before his parents died. Before their house was sold to strangers.

Bare feet step into the shallows, seeking solid ground. How long has he wished for the day the usurping strangers, too, would succumb to the passage of time, death, or family dispersing?

He’s waited all these years. To climb the steep path, the wide stairs, to stand before the front door in which—there—reflected in the glass panes he sees the child he left behind.

He pulls the key from his pocket.

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