Twenty-one years old, I sleep in a cardboard box. Walking the cold 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. After finishing secondary school, I run away from home. Successful for a time, I live on my own.
Now, scrounging in the trash, I’ve sunk so low.
I make my way back to Dover. Arriving at the cemetery, my father’s tombstone is easy to find. Grief and shame wash over me. Placing flowers on his grave, my mother slowly stands. She turns and walks into my embrace. Wiping our eyes, we make our way to the small 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.
Was he really there?
Though remorse lingers, forgiveness heals the broken parts and creates life anew.
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.