Come Home, Please Come Home

Little Jade pressed her forehead on the cold, moist window. Looking out, she saw the lantern burning brightly. It was in the same spot in front of the porch where it had been every night for the last three months. "Mommy, when is Daddy coming home?"

Dalia sucked in her breath. Jade had only asked her that question once before, on the first night she had set the lantern in the path.

Vivid memories of her weeping in the path, and Jade fleeing to the safety of her bed flashed through Dalia's mind.

Straightening her spine, she began whispering to herself. "I'm not going to fall apart this time. I will tell her calmly, so she won't be frightened again."

Jade turned and gazed at her mother, her large green eyes almost liquid.

Dalia took a calming breath, then sat in a large, plush chair beside the fireplace. Jade joined her, curling up in her mother's welcoming embrace.

"I don't know, Love. His boat was lost in that awful storm a few months ago. He could be stranded far away, or he might be almost home. Maybe he'll even be back tonight. That's why I leave the lantern out there, to light his way."

Jade scrunched up her face in thought. "Shouldn't he have been back before now if he made it to land?" the girl asked, with the innocent honesty that only children seem to possess.

Dalia stiffened, then forced her muscles to relax. "I'm sure he made it. Maybe he was hurt, or couldn't find a way home right away. We just have to wait for him."

Jade curled in closer. " I hope so, I miss him. He tells the best stories," she replied with a yawn.

"Which was your favorite, Jade?"

"The one about the dolphin who turned into a princess," she replied with a giggle.

"Please tell me the story? Daddy never told me that one."

"Okay, Mommy."

After Jade finished the story, Dalia carried her to her bed. "Good night, Love."

Jade looked at her, with eyes as shiny as the stone she was named after. "Good night. Wake me if Daddy comes back while I'm asleep?"

"I promise."

After she left her daughter's room, Dalia's eyes filled with tears. "She's right, it's been too long. Everyone says so, not just Jade. No, I can't give up. There's still a chance, we don't even know if the Lady was damaged. She could have been blown out to sea."

And so her thoughts chased each other, until close to dawn. As the sky lightened, she grabbed her shawl.

"I'll greet the day by watching the sea. He would like that..."

She strolled just out of reach of the lapping waves. Her foot touched something solid. "A plank. It looks like it's in good shape," she said, tossing it beyond the reach of the next high tide.

Then she glimpsed another dark object. It was smaller, and the waves were tossing it about. Dalia waited patiently for it to wash ashore.

As she looked at it, she sat down hard in the cold Atlantic. The icy water didn't even register.

"It can't be, it can't be," she repeated over and over, as she held her husband's log book close to her chest.

It was soaked, but the gold engraving on the dark leather was unmistakable. The Lady.

From that day on, the lantern remained in the path every night, for the next fifty years.



Describe what you see:
I see a lantern sitting in the dark, on clay or brick tiles. Based on the fog or mist around it, it's outside. It appears to either be in a path, or on a porch.

Describe what you feel:
I feel like it was left burning while its owner went inside. It's a cool or cold night, a wet cold. The picture brings thoughts of loneliness and hope of a reunion.

#pic1000

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