I sleep in a cardboard box. Walking the frigid streets of London, I search for food. The smell of freshly baked strudel causes me to pause. The aroma takes me back to a small bakery, kilometers away.
I am a child. My father stands behind the counter with flour to his elbows. He welcomes me home from school. As a teenager, a flour covered father with a foreign accent embarrasses me. Finishing secondary school, I run away.
Successful for a time, I now scrounge for food.
Making my way back to Dover, I arrive at the cemetery. Grief and shame wash over me. I am too late. Laying flowers in front of my father’s tombstone, my mother slowly stands. She turns and walks into my embrace. Wiping each other’s tears, we make our way to the bakery. The years fall away. My father stands behind the counter wearing flour and a smile.
Welcome home, Liebchen.
He fades away. I turn to see my mother looking at the same spot.
Had she seen him too?
Though remorse lingers, forgiveness heals the broken parts. I stand behind the counter with flour to my elbows and welcome my children home with a smile.
Sunday Photo Fiction is a weekly challenge, hosted by Al Forbes, to write a story using 200 words inspired by a photo prompt. This week’s prompt was provided by Al Forbes.