Standing in the foyer Matthew waited for a long moment as the sound of his voice resonated off the hard walls of the room until at last silence returned. As he stood there Matthew could feel the chill in the air and the pounding of the heart in his chest. Every fiber in his being screamed for him to turn and run, as far away as his legs would take him, but this time he did not move. For the last 15 years he had been running, from everything and everyone, but he was done running and he knew it. After several long minutes Matthew finally moved, his legs trembling slightly, he stepped into the cramped living room. Along the one wall sat an old leather couch, the leather faded and slightly cracked covered with a fine layer of dust.
The sound of children's laughter could be heard as Matthew sprinted through the door and stopped. With a squeal of delight Mary Ellen came dashing in behind him only to collide with him after his sudden stop. Stumbling in a laughing, squealing tangle of arms and legs Mary Ellen and Matthew fell crashing to the couch before rolling off and onto the floor. About that time a voice boomed from the other room "what the hell are you kids doing? How many times have I told you no horsing around in the house!"
Matthew flinched as the voice rang out in his head. It had been almost 25 years ago, and that voice still rang in his head. That was the summer almost 20 years ago that Mary Ellen had fallen off the bridge. With a silent shudder Matthew walked through the living room and into the kitchen. The house that once seemed so full of sounds and activity now was as still as a frozen winter morning, the dust covering the room like a thin layer of frost.
Slowly Matthew started to walk through the house giving everything a glance over. It only took him a few minutes to determine that the water and electricity had been turned off, and that he would need to contact the power company in the morning.
After examining the utility closet Matthew slowly climbed the staircase to the bedrooms upstairs. Stepping into the room at the right at the top of the stairs Matthew looked upon the walls that he had felt trapped him for so many years. Looking up at the ceiling Matthew saw the hooks in the ceiling that had once held up the curtain that his parents had used to divide the room in half for him and his sister. Looking across the room Matthew saw the twin bed and dresser that was his so many years ago. Matthew walked over to the dresser and slowly ran his hand over the smooth cool wood sending the dust floating into the air. Slowly Matthew turned and walked back down the stairs and out the door to his car. As he opened the trunk slowly and reached in to remove his small suitcase Matthew found it suddenly hard to breathe. Fear gripped his throat as he stood there bent over gasping.
After several agonizing minutes Matthew slowly felt the tightness in his chest start to lessen. Finally he stood with the suitcase in hand and walked weakly back into the house. After climbing the stairs to the bedroom once again Matthew set his suitcase down on the floor next to the dresser and slumped down onto the bed. Half sitting on the edge Matthew felt his mind wander. So many times he had tried to come home, but each time somewhere short of that front step he would turn around and walk away. Sometimes as close as 50 miles, but always just out of reach. Every day he kept telling himself that he could come back tomorrow. "A life time of tomorrows is all you will have if you wait, because Tomorrow Never Comes Twice" his father used to tell him. Looking over at the mirror on the dresser Matthew let out a small laugh "you were right Dad, Tomorrow Never Comes Twice, but hell comes every night." A peaceful night sleep was something from the past that Matthew only vaguely remembered. Each night was a fresh new hell of parched throats, and shaking hands clawing at the sweaty sheets as he screamed in terror.
The only time Matthew had found solace in the last few years was the nights he passed out too drunk too dream, to drunk to remember. As Matthew thought about those nights he silently licked his lips without realizing it. The last 9 weeks had been a living hell as he had tried to get himself sober. Matthew walked down to the car and pulled a diet soda from between the front seats and then grabbed a rolled up sleeping bag out of the back of the car and headed upstairs as the last rays of light filtered through the trees.
After rolling out his sleeping bag Matthew took a long sip of the soda and looked out the window staring at the darkening sky. Weary from his journey he finally crawled into the sleeping bag. Looking up at the ceiling as he started to doze off to sleep Matthew quietly said to himself "Tomorrow I will try to start untangling the knots in my life because Tomorrow never comes twice..."
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