The Nice Thing About Strangers

Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.

The Welcome Home Scene

He’s somewhere in early 20s and exceptionally tall. He’s clean shaven and tan in his white button-up shirt. Back in the airplane, he ate a sandwich, sat restlessly in his seat, and spent the last 15 minutes before landing shaking his head and resting his face in his hands. Now he looks down the row of the cars near the Arrivals exit. He shifts, he hunches like many tall boys have been known to do.

A woman screams. A car door opens, voices call out. The screaming woman is running at the man in the white shirt, who now stands at his full height. When she reaches him for an embrace, she grabs him so hard that everyone waiting on taxis and shuttles can hear the gasp he lets out, the thud of their ribcages, the sob she continues. His mother keeps calling out, even as he is safely in her arms. She lets him go for a moment and he is bright red, fighting tears, perhaps also trying to catch a breath.

The rest of his family hustles up to embrace him, pat him, touch his hair–four teenage girls, two women other than mom, and three men. They have two vans full of family members have come to greet him and who are blissfully blocking traffic. Mom starts up again. She is crying, “My son, my son,” in her gratitude and she begins to slide to the ground. He works to hold her up, the bystanders taking in the scene with concern, with wonder. A man sweeping up cigarettes stops to watch the scene with a grin, with his head tilted to the side. It is worth the pause. Such a beautiful sight should certainly be appreciated.

A tiny girl finally cuts through the crowd and the tall young man grins at her and picks her up. He is led to the car, as other drivers are finally growing restless and it is time to go. His mother still clutches at his arm, guiding him to the car, tucking him in and then climbing into the second van. From her spot in the front seat, she demonstrates her similarity to her son, as she leans forward near the dashboard, shaking her head and resting her face in her hands.

–Izmir, Turkey

14463684_734359427188_525728633_n14502016_734359422198_1418268256_n(I almost never photograph my scenes, and the quality of the photos shows both that I am not a photographer and too shy to pay attention to things like “focusing the camera.” But I think you can get a bit of the idea from these awful snaps. 🙂 )

14 comments on “The Welcome Home Scene

  1. joannerambling
    September 26, 2016

    Loved the picture this brought to mind

  2. bykabitablog
    September 27, 2016

    Very lovely description. Love it.

  3. healingpilgrim
    September 27, 2016

    My skin tingles while reading this.. I’ve been in these kinds of scenes myself, they’re both exhilarating and heartbreaking. Beautifully written. Never mind the pix, your words captured it just right.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 27, 2016

      Thank you so much! I loved that he was tall enough so I could see how it was affecting him. 😀 I’ll never forget the look on his face.
      Paige

  4. evelyneholingue
    September 27, 2016

    Aww…
    As the mother of a twenty-old son I so relate…

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 28, 2016

      I bet he wouldn’t mind at all if you caused a scene. 🙂 In many ways, despite all the bystanders, it was as though they were totally alone.
      Have a lovely week, Evelyne!
      Paige

      • evelyneholingue
        September 28, 2016

        Not sure yet about my son’s reaction. But he loves my attention even when he pretends otherwise. In a few years from now he will be more okay with physical display of affection. Say my friends with older sons. It was a great post, Paige.

  5. Darlene
    September 27, 2016

    Mothers and sons, there is no love like it! I try not to embarrass my some when I see him, but it is hard not too. I love this story. ❤

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 28, 2016

      Darlene,
      Later he will treasure even the feeling of being a bit embarrassed, I bet. 🙂 Thank you for your take, as a mother. As a bystander, I saw it in one way, but I bet mothers are really tuned in. If you’d been with me, we might have taken some different notes! 🙂
      Thank you!
      Paige

  6. Darlene
    September 27, 2016

    Sorry, it should read son not some.

  7. Duncan Campbell
    September 28, 2016

    So good! Loved the richness of this scene. “It is worth the pause.” BRILLIANT.

    • thenicethingaboutstrangers
      September 30, 2016

      Thank you, Duncan! A friend who was meeting me at the airport was about 30 minutes late, and when he showed he was apologizing profusely, but I said it was the best wait I’ve had in a decade. Watching that scene really made me week. So glad he wasn’t punctual. 🙂
      Paige

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This entry was posted on September 26, 2016 by in Travel.

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