Chapter 10: Homeward Bound.
The hug keeps going. And going. With Ilona grinning happy thoughts for the entire time. As if by magic, the arms slowly lower her back to the ground, ever so gently, and place her firmly back on earth. The whole exercise of love only lasts a few seconds, but like every joyous moment Ilona has experienced today, it plays out in her mind as being a wonderful forever.
“Cynthia texted me all about you this afternoon,” she says, then looks at her daughter, “But not from class, right?” The question is only asked half-seriously, like she already knows the correct answer that would be right is going to come from her child.
“Yes mother, I am not my brothers. Thankfully.” Cynthia comically rolls her eyes.
“I resemble that comment!” shouts the driver, all in a very mocking tone.
“My boys, love them all to pieces, but they will be the death of me.” Cynthia’s mother shakes her head at Ilona, while patting her shoulder. “But we must get going Sweetpea, daddy is bringing grandma over soon,” she has turned to look at Cynthia, “and certain teenagers we know have to clean up certain messes they have created.” And her gaze now turns to the boys in the van.
“Wasn’t us, it was Voldermort,” states one of the boys, not even looking up from his phone.
“Riiiiiight…” Cynthia’s mother lets out.
What would look to the untrained eye of the old Ilona like some kind of family squabble, about to break out into a full scale war, instead it is obvious to the new Ilona as playfulness bouncing in the air all around this close knit group. It is as if Ilona has somehow figured out how to decode these human emotions and interactions at last, with their secrets laid bare. She understands the love she saw.
Cynthia comes over to Ilona and they exchanged a hug.
“Sorry, can’t lift you off the ground. That’s a talent reserved for mothers.” Cynthia says as she finishes.
Within seconds, mother and daughter hop into the mini-van, shut the doors and fasten their seatbelts. Almost as a unit, everyone in the van, except the driver, turn and quickly wave at Ilona as they speed away. Ilona waves back, and partly wishes she is in the van right now.
Her arm keeps going, even as the van grows smaller in the distance and eventually turned onto another street.
Breathing in and out with excitement, the very air filled with magic, she finally lowers her arm and stays in the same spot, just drinking it all in. Quietness reign in her reality and imagination, all for another split second till another car, one unknown to her, zips by, breaking her happy nirvana.
Realizing the time, Ilona looks both ways, then sprints across the street, zips to her sidestreet, and moves briskly, almost running, to her building. Panting and starting to sweat, Ilona plunges into her apartment.
And she stops.
When she left this morning, friendless, alone and with tinges of hope pinned to the book firmly in her backpack, these walls did not respond to her goodbye. Now she looks at the unspeaking walls and sees brightness coming back at her. They seem shiny and happy.
“Hello, I am Ilona, pleased to meet you!” She feels giddy and waves at the apartment walls. Not waiting for the happy reply she knows she would get, Ilona troops off down the hall to her room to deposit her schoolbag.
Next stop is the kitchen, and with happiness in her heart, she ploughs into dinner. Stew is not on the menu tonight, celebration is. Three hamburgers in a frying pan later, baked potatoes in the oven, and some fresh vegetables boiling, everything is moving along, almost back on schedule. As a finishing touch, she brings out a jar of honey, all to spread on the potatoes. This is an idea she overheard Clara talking about at recess.
“Hello Ilona! We’re back!” The usual shout arrives, just as the finishing touches are put onto each plate.
“How is our big girl now?” Her father says while tilting his head like he always does.
“Excellent!” Ilona shouts and jumps up onto her dad, not even minding the brushy moustache smushing up against her cheek. The force of Ilona almost sends her father flying.
“Truly excellent!” Ilona shouts this time as she finishes with her dad and now slams into a hug with her mother.
She plops back to the ground and beams to her parents.
They exchange looks of happiness, mixed with worry.
“I have so much to tell you at dinner tonight! It was so amazing! I had so much fun and met the most incredible people! One girl has seen Fiddler on the Roof as well! And I was asked if I was Hungarian, but not in a mean way! And I met Cynthia’s mother and brothers! They are all older and one is in trouble and he can drive! And Susan and Clara are in class with me and they don’t like Mr. Micheals either! And…”
Ilona rambles all this out at breakneck speed, with some words slurring together. Her parent’s eyes go wide as these stories and tales spew out as a verbal eruption, names and events foreign to them being bandied about by this person they once knew as their quiet timid daughter. Her mother finally catches her thoughts and manages to wrangle Ilona in a bit by interrupting this assault on their ears.
“So, I take it you had a really good day?”
Ilona slams the brakes on her mouth, takes in at light speed what her mother has said, and replies.
“The best day ever! Group high five!”
Ilona shoots her arm up, and quickly took in her parent’s quizzical expressions.
“Oh. I haven’t told you about that yet.” She giggles.
Sizing up her parent’s confusion, another thought enters her excited brain.
“And thank you so much for the book!” Ilona exclaims as she spreads her arms wide and brings them into a group hug with her.
Song For This Chapter: Cook With Honey by Judy Collins.
The Passport To The Wall is Copyright 2013 to Paul Riches
You can also read, comment, and vote on The Passport To The Wall on Wattpad.
First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.