Scared is what you’re feeling. Brave is what you’re doing. ~ Emma Donoghue
He was afraid.
Three years in the war, five working on the railways, five more on a ranch out west, dealing with death, pain, and danger, and now he was afraid. Afraid of what?
Of the farmhouse that stood in the distance? Of the fields that lay behind it? Of the old red barn? Afraid of the bright Tennesee sun? Afraid of the lazy white, fluffy clouds that floated in the sky? The cold, winter breeze, so unlike the hot Arizona air he was used too. What? What in this peaceful scenery could he be afraid of?
Why hadn’t she ever written him? Did she hate him? And if she did hate him, why was he going back to her? What about the kids? Well, they were kids no longer, would they care to even look at the tired, scarred up figure that was their father?
“Why am I even bothering?” He pondered to himself. “How will I ever explain myself to them?”
He just wanted to turn around, but that was the coward’s way out and he had been coward long enough.
“Be a man, Sam,” he chided. “For once in yer life be a man!”
Soon he was at the front porch. He dismounted and tied his faithful Arrow Head to the post. The moment had come. He had no idea what he was going to say, how he would look into her eyes, if he would be able to force himself through the front door, he would have to figure that out on the spot.
“Thirteen years,” he mumbled. “Thirteen years.”
It could have all been so different. If only Malachi Browne hadn’t...hadn’t...
Sam clenched his fist, then released it. He would deal with that son of a gun later. Now he just had to knock on the front door and greet his family.
With heavy foosteps he walked up and knocked.
A second passed, two, three, four, five, thirty in all, and then the handle turned and the door opened.