Home Is Where The Heart Is

By Kimberlee Akimoto

Night was falling but Edgar Swinton didn’t mind. This was his favorite time of the day so he leaned into his rocking chair and watched the sun sink into the horizon. The sky slowly dimmed to reveal the first twinkling of stars as a cool breeze swept through the field and up to the porch where he sat. The air was sweet with the scent of summer roses, which triggered a memory that made him sigh with longing.

Edgar was born and raised on this land and spent the first nineteen years of his life in this house, which had stood vacant for decades before his recent return. His gaze wandered over to the dogwood trees and to the headstones beneath them. Both of his parents were buried there. They loved this land and never understood why he had left.

It was the roses that made him leave. Well, actually just the one: Rose, the girl who had blossomed before his eyes, given him his first kiss, and broken his young heart. He left town before her wedding and never looked back.

“Until now,” Edgar thought to himself. At that moment, he felt a sharp pang of regret and an ache in his heart. He wasn’t there to comfort his mother when his father died of a massive heart attack. He wasn’t there when she followed six months later. He missed both funerals, though the photographs taken by his private detective suggested that both funerals were beautiful and well-attended. Rose was there and although her belly was swollen with child, Edgar was still dazzled by her beauty.

They were all gone now. He heard that Rose and her husband had moved out of town and that she had passed away two years ago. There was no one left in this sleepy town or in this big empty house – no one who mattered anyway – and that was the reason why he had chosen this moment to finally come home.

Edgar Swinton left home at nineteen and arrived artless and penniless in New York with hopes of making something of himself. He did just that, though his life didn’t exactly turn out the way he had expected. Early on he made friends with a guy who knew a guy and before he knew it, he was working for some disreputable folk. There was good money in it though and over time he came to enjoy his work.

He was getting old though – too old for this profession anyway – and his trigger finger was a bit shaky these days. He botched a hit and in his line of business that was unacceptable. He knew they would come for him and he was ready.

So Edgar Swinton sat in his father’s rocking chair on the porch of his family home, looked up into the starry night sky of his youth and smiled wistfully as the killer’s bullet pierced his already broken heart.

4 Responses to Home Is Where The Heart Is

  1. Robin Rhyner says:

    Kim. I really enjoyed this piece. It made me wonder about Edgar’s other life. The one he would have had if he had stayed. I’ve been exploring the theme of parallel lives in my own writing lately, “the road not taken” so to speak, maybe because of some of our Wordstew prompts. This piece spoke to me that way, also. I really liked Edgar. I was glad he seemed to be ready to die peacefully, but found myself wanting for him to have had a happier life. Pretty cool that in less than 500 hundred words you could create a character who I kind of thought of as a friend to sigh over in regret.

  2. tamarahunter says:

    Gosh Kim, a whole novel packed into 500 words…what an arc. That he chose death on his own terms and found solace in the memory of more innocent times is the only relief in this sad reflection on the fork in the road.

  3. Pingback: Winner, ‘Night’ Challenge | Waxings

  4. Jennifer Evans says:

    Great Job! Felt like I was right there with him! And I wanted to know so much more!

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