"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Vignette Entry by Elizabeth Black

The Prodigal Daughter

The house in which Vivien Tyler had spent her childhood sprawled near the cliffs overlooking a churning Atlantic ocean. It was a place so remote it might as well have been at the edge of the world. Twenty-two acres on three sides and tall hedges on the fourth facing the road protected the home from prying eyes, door-to-door salesmen, and Jehovah's Witnesses. It was a large, rambling place with expansive rooms on the first two floors and claustrophobic cubbyholes on the third. The wrap-around porch strangled the first floor, its top bowing in the middle from the weight of years of Nor'easters common in Massachusetts as well as lack of upkeep.
Just looking at the house exhausted Vivien. It sapped her of her energy when she was a teenager and she felt its stifling pull as she stood in the gravel parking lot, staring at it. It gaped back at her, all the windows shuttered except the ones to the storage room that glared at her as if they dared her to cross the threshold. The pointed roof kissed the sky and the walls came together as if banding against her, willing her away from entrance. The aged porch yawned, bored at her presence and choosing to ignore her.
A crisp autumn breeze blew from the ocean beyond the cliffs, tousling Vivien's auburn hair about her head. The scents of seaweed and freshly mown grass filled the air. Crimson, yellow, and orange leaves floated about like shards of a stained glass window come to life. Vivien pulled her sweater closed around her neck. This fall was going to be a chilly one.
The forest died around her as green turned to bronze. She could almost hear the last dying breath of summer as it moved into fall. Wild asters dotted the landscape, a sign that fall approached. Birds swarmed looking for food. It was time for more homey pursuits she never had when she was a child – hot cocoa in front of the fireplace, S'mores, pumpkin pie, banana nut bread. What was it called when you longed to return to a home that never existed?
The rustic smell of wood burning in a fireplace greeted her from the front door of the house. It teased her, pretending to invite her in yet those yawning hallways closed within, making entry difficult.
Vivien had seldom set foot in her childhood home in seven years. Now, in the throes of divorce, she returned home, a prodigal daughter, wishing she felt more at ease.

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