by Angela Kempe
Maria stood in the driveway as her taxi kicked up a cloud of dust behind her. The country road was long and forsaken, and the driveway seemed even longer, and the way up to the old white porch, even lonelier. She dug the tips of her sandals into the dirt as she thought about the house and wondered even more at who might be inside.
Maria lift the backpack straps up off her sunburnt shoulders and shifted the heavy weight of it off her back. A few chickens sauntered across her path and the faint sound of clucking vanished down the driveway. She could see the pots of Marigolds set out on the steps like normal this time every year. She could see that rickety porch swing she used to sit in when her legs could barely reach the ground. Everything was as it was ten years before. The only thing different was her.
Maria took off her sunglasses and swept her gaze downward. Everything from her hair and makeup down to her summer dress had been transformed by Los Angeles. How did so much change when she swore she never would? Would they notice? Would they care? Maria thirsted for home like a poppy thirsts for rain out in the hot Arizona desert. With each step closer to the door, she felt in her veins a stirring of life, insatiable life. Like raindrops flowing down into the dry clay, making their way deep down through the rocks, Maria made her way to the front of the house. The rain rushing, Maria brushed a tear from her face.
My roots, she thought solemnly. I’m home.