The car slowed, turned sharply left and headed down the gravel lane. James might not have noticed; there had been many twists and turns along this journey, but the backseat grew dark as they headed deeper into the woods and his attention was drawn up and out of the book that had been his constant companion. As the car wobbled and bounced, James watched the tall trees that seemed to watch him back. They must be close now, having traveled for what seemed like such a long time. Although James had not wanted to leave the last place, he had always known they would. James’ father had a wanderlust that his mother accepted long ago. It had taken them many places in the short eleven years since James had been born, and he supposed there would be many more.
A clearing appeared through the trees ahead and, as they grew closer, a large, white house came into view. It was old and crooked and the shutters hung loosely around the windows. An enormous covered porch wrapped around the house as though holding it in place and at the far corner James noticed a large, brown figure. Growing closer still, James ignored the peeling paint and broken windows and concentrated on the figure. It was a dog. He (or she…he couldn’t yet tell) was sitting patiently as if waiting for something…someone. The car came to a stop.
“Well… here we are,” announced James’ father with an excitement not quite matched by the rest of the family.
As they opened the doors and stepped out, James noticed the dog stand up. He (or she) walked deliberately toward them as if he had been expecting them all along. He didn’t run or bark, as other dogs do, he simply walked and, as he walked, he held his gaze on James. He crossed the yard and when he reached the place where they stood, he turned and sat at James’ heel.
“Seems like you have a new friend.”
James looked up at his mother as she spoke and noticed she was smiling. He knew instantly that this meant the dog could stay, although he was not yet sure if he would want him to. Moving meant leaving things behind and James had learned to be cautious about getting attached.
His parents’ attention returned quickly to the house and conversation of repairs that would need to be made and unpacking that would need to be done faded into the background as James considered his new surroundings.
“Mom, is it ok if I go see what’s around back?”
“Sure, dear. Explore a little…have some fun. But stay close to the house for now and don’t go out into the woods just yet. Ok? I wouldn’t want to lose you on our first day.” She smiled. Jane knew these moves were hard on her son and she wanted him to be happy – as happy as a boy without roots could be. Perhaps this time they might finally stay, she thought to herself, and she tucked that wish deep inside her heart as she watched him disappear around the corner of the house.
©Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015.
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