Mark, called me a few days ago.
Although I could hear how tired he sounded, there was something else to his tone that I couldn’t put my finger on.
It sounded as if he was talking into an empty glass.
Then it hit me.
“Where are you?” I asked.
“I’m sitting in the family room,” he answered gloomily. “Just me and a few boxes are all that’s left.”
An enormous lump formed in my throat.
Suddenly, I felt not just thousands of miles, but light-years from home.
It was certainly not new news that my parents were moving from the house I grew up in.
My father had, in fact, been struggling to hold onto it for quite some time and we all knew the end was near. But when I heard my brother’s voice reverberate against the barren walls of what was once the heart of our home, I felt as if my limbs had turned to lead and nearly dropped the phone.
For nearly twenty years our home in Shoreacres had been a wonderful, wooded haven – not only for my parents, my brothers, my sisters and myself, but for a myriad of friends and relatives who relished their time there.
Lounging on sofas.
Swimming in the pool.
Diving into the refrigerator.
Climbing down the bluff.
Watching storms pass over Lake Michigan.
And fireworks up and down the shore.
Many rights of passage were initiated there.
Bones and heartaches mended there.
A marriage celebrated.
Another continuously tested.
Runaway ponies wrangled.
Strays (of the canine, feline and human kind) fostered there.
It was a truly spectacular – almost magical – place to grow up.
The two of us couldn’t speak for the next few minutes. When we finally found our voices again, there was little left to say.
We each managed to choke out a “Good Night.” Then, I quietly set the receiver down and stared into my darkened apartment on the other side of the globe.
There would be no going home again.
I wept, trembling, until I fell into a restless sleep.