The Yellow Ribbon
It’s Complicated: Lit Up & The Writing Cooperative Contest
Dana stepped out her rental car and looked around. She had never planned on coming back here again, but it had been as if the car was on autopilot. Her insides in turmoil, she forced herself to walk quickly toward the house. The only obvious difference about the place that she noticed was that the house looked sad and neglected instead of new and full of hope like it had the last time she’d seen it.
That had been so long ago.
She walked up the front steps and stood uncertain at the front door. Out of the corner of her eye something fluttered in the wind. She turned to stare in disbelief at the old oak tree beside the porch. Tears welled in her eyes. The yellow ribbon was badly faded and severely tattered after ten years, but it was still there. Dana only hoped it wasn’t an oversight. She inhaled deeply and raised her hand to knock, just as the wooden door opened.
“Hello Jeb” she smiled tentatively at him.
He reached for her hand and quickly pulled her to him. She clung to him. She felt his strong fingers stroke the length of her hair and tightened her arms around him. “Gods, how I’ve missed you,” she murmured.
“I knew you’d come back to me eventually.” Jeb’s breath was warm against her ear.
She stepped back from him, letting her fingers slide down his arms. He gently took both her hands in his and winked at her.
“How could you know when I didn’t even know myself?” Dana asked.
Jeb released one of her hands and slid his hand to his chest, directly over his heart and tapped it gently with his fingers.
“I felt it here,” Jeb said. “I’ve always felt us here.”
At his words all the emotions and feelings that she had buried out of obligation for so long, were released. She sobbed aloud and collapsed into his arms. He said nothing as he held her close, gently stroking her hair, until her sobbing subsided.
After several minutes, he led her down the hall to the sofa in the living room.
Dana smiled at the use of his pet name for her and lowered herself onto the cushions. She leaned her head back and closed her eyes. She was exhausted from the drive and more so from the emotional rollercoaster of the last ten years.
“I’ll make us something to eat.” Jeb whispered.
She felt his fingertips brush the hair from her eyes. She opened her eyes to look at him and smiled.
“Thank you, baby,” Dana whispered.
He turned to walk away. She watched him till he turned into the kitchen. She lifted her hand and gazed at the now naked ring finger symbolizing her new freedom. She smiled to herself and settled back against the sofa, vowing tomorrow she would help Jeb take down that yellow ribbon for good.
She was finally home.