It had been a long time since John had been home, almost six years to be exact. His birth home in Vancouver, B.C. was a beautiful city in Canada as he remembered. He remembered going to the Lea-Side Skate Park with his friends after school, going ice skating at Robson Square and eating at The Pizzeria Barbarella with his family on weekend evenings.
His family: he missed them so much. However, he had to leave. His whole world fell apart the day his brother Andrew died in a car accident. After the funeral, he felt like he was seeing his older brother everywhere he went. It was driving him insane to the point where he even thought of suicide. He knew it was the wrong idea and he didn't want his parents to go through the heartache again of losing their second son too. Even then, he could hear Andrew's voice telling him, "Don't do it". So instead of confiding in someone, then seventeen years old, John decided to leave Canada and head to the beautiful country of Australia. But, nobody really knew why he had chosen Australia to live it was a random decision.
Now twenty-three years old, John was back home in B.C. He came back for her; his high school sweetheart, his first love, Anna. Just two weeks ago he had gotten a sudden unexpected call from her. There were so many things he wanted to tell her, but thought it would be best if they'd talk face to face. John told her he could come visit her in a week since he would be on vacation and agreed to meet her at a local coffee shop in downtown Vancouver.
A week later, the city of Vancouver was blistering cold in mid March. Cold wind blew right through John as he walked in the snowy, icy streets of downtown. He kept his eyes peeled for a pink and brown banner with the name "Treats" written on it. It was the coffee shop Anna had suggested they meet and he didn't have to look much farther when he spotted a shop at the corner of the street with tinted windows.
He stepped inside the slightly dim café and was greeted with a warm, sweet smell of freshly baked goods. The scent of fresh cookies, donuts, breads, coffee and other treats lingered in the air. John smiled and thought to himself how he'd never smelled anything so heavenly before. Taking off his toque, John ran his fingers through his dark hair when he noticed a middle aged Asian woman standing behind the counter watching him with a smile. He returned a smile back as he approached the counter.
"Hi, can I please have a large coffee with crème and no sugar please?" The woman smiled and immediately went into making his cup of coffee. John sat by the counter waiting for his warm drink. He glanced at the clock hanging above on the other side of the coffee shop. The clock indicated that he was about an hour early, which was good. It would give him more time to think and rehearse what he will say to Anna when she arrived.
About a minute later his thoughts were interrupted when the Asian woman approached him with his hot cup of coffee. "Is there anything else I can get you, sweetheart?"
"Oh, no thanks, I'm good for now." John nodded politely at the woman before she picked up a cloth and began cleaning behind the counter.
He took a sip of his coffee and swallowed slowly, savouring the hot liquid substance as much as he could. Suddenly that very moment he felt a little uncomfortable as if he was being watched. John saw a slight movement from the corner of his left eye. He whisked his head around and he saw her, sitting at a small table for two on the opposite side of the entrance door. It was Anna.
"It's really her. How didn't I not notice her when I first walked in?" he thought to himself. His eyes locked with hers, and he noticed her blue-grey eyes filling up with tears.
John smiled sincerely at her as he walked to her table. He was beginning to feel a little emotional as well just looking at the sight of her.
"Hi." Anna heard him whisper. She then forcefully got out of her seat almost knocking down her chair and threw her arms around him, pulling him into an embrace. He too threw both his arms around her waist and he could hear her softly crying.
"Anna, please don't."
She quickly pulled away from him wiping her tear stained face. "I'm sorry, I don't mean too. It's just that you look like a model from a GQ Magazine."
Her comment made him laugh as he thought about the way he was back then. He wouldn't be caught dead wearing anything presentable; he always wore baggy t-shirts and sweatpants, he even sported a shaved head which he'd shave himself. "I'll take that as a compliment."
John joined her at the table for two and he wasted no time explaining and apologizing to her about why he left.
"I understand, Johnny. I'm just glad you're doing alright." He leaned in towards her, staring at her for a moment before speaking.
"How have you been?"
She explained to him that she was doing fine, studying to get her degree as a nurse and unexpectedly mentioned that she had been waiting for the day she'd see him again.
"Have you considered moving back here in Vancouver?" Anna nervously asked him, hoping he'd tell her what she wanted to hear.
"I've thought about it. I've accomplished a lot being an art and music teacher in Australia. Not sure if I want to throw that all away."
John watched as Anna sighed in disappointment. It wasn't what she wanted to hear. He tried to make her eyes meet his as he grabbed her hand. "But, I will make an exception just to be with you again."
She smiled, tears filling up in her eyes again, and once more pulling him into an embrace. This is why he came back: for her, his family, the city. This was his home. Even though he missed his brother, he accepted his death and was no longer haunted by him and very grateful that the death of his brother didn't lead him in the wrong path. John was home and this was where he belonged.
Copyright © 2014 - Latoya Kellie