Final Jeopardy ∼ Homecoming
Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.
Leon Dieirling, jauntily descending the stairs Despina is trudging up, calls out his traditional greeting, "And how was Despina's summer vacation? You're really trimmed down and tanned. It must have agreed with you."
Assaying a half-hearted smile, she returns, "It was a busy two and a half months."
Paul Peter, his hands full of summer mailbox accumulation, calls from the landing. “Boy, is THAT ever an understatement. Did she mention that she now has two children?”
Both pause, across from each other on the stairs. “Children? Now, that is quite an accomplishment. It sounds as if congratulations are called for.”
“Which she abandoned at the end of the summer?” Paul Peter blithely continues his upward journey.
Despina bursts into tears, turning around to head into her classroom.
Leon lays a hand on her arm. “I’m sorry. I should have known that if PP brought it up, it was bound to be controversial. Will you accept a listening ear if you need one while we set your room to rights? No prying.”
“I did. I just couldn’t face them, or the tribe after Cu...”
“Cu? The husband, right?”
Down the hallway, two slender forms and one bulky one round the corner of the central stairwell, silhouetted by the open doors below.
“Pina!” pipes a shrill voice, as the smallest form flies toward her. Mick and Sarita follow more sedately. Despina and Leon head toward them, ignoring the ban on running in the halls. Despina kneels down, grabbing Alberto to her, then wrapping her other arm around Sarita. She looks wonderingly at Mick.
“What? How?” she can’t complete a thought.
“After you left, the tribal meeting made several decisions. They are prosecuting Roger Rabbit and company for unlawful death, and gave in to Sarita and Alberto when they requested YOU as guardian.
“It took hours of laying fears for their well-being thrust into an unsympathetic White environment, but I patiently explained that the three of you would grieve together and bond even tighter.
“Nobody doubts your heart, or theirs.” He nods toward the two children, still clinging to Despina. “Cu’s body has never been found, not for lack of searching.”
Mick eyes her steadily as he doles out his information bit by bit. Finally, she stands and hugs him.
Leon sits down right on the hall floor and addresses the two children. “And who do we have here?”
Shyly, Sarita introduces herself and Alberto while Mick and Despina enter the office to sign the necessary forms to accept custody and enroll them in school.
“When I was living with the Inuit, that’s the name of the tribe of Indians up in northern Alaska, I knew many children just like you two, but... the boys dreamed of hunting their own polar bear for a pelt to warm their sleeping pads at night.
“I flew into Barrow, the closest town, with six dozen eggs in my lap, which were to last me until spring. By then, I had to drop each one in a pan of water to see if it sank or floated. Rotten eggs are not a pleasure to crack.”
When Mick and Despina return, the story is still rolling on, with two spellbound children all ears, smiling at the raised eyebrows and nose twitches that peppered Leon’s tale.
“If that is any indication of the reception your charges will get, I doubt there will be any problems.” With a chaste kiss on Despina’s cheek, he takes his leave to head up yet another search for Cu’s remains.
Next (Premonition Phone Call --- Link to Sequel)
Last updated 12/16/15 Added second space after end punctuation; and replaced -- with ∼ to match Travelsfar; changed title from Summer's End to Homecoming; 3/7/10 joined two consecutive Leon speeches into one paragraph. Separated roomto. Added centered title. Changed flew in to Barrow to into. 12/16/09.
Word Count: 608
Final Jeopardy ∼ Summer's End
(Summer's End - Original Critique Group Version)
(Despina's Infamous Green Journal) (summerciecles)