Skip moved away from home in Rochester, New York when he was eighteen. There was a bitter argument between he and his Dad. Words were said that should never have been said to a father, but they could not be taken back. He has lived with them for nearly forty years.
He never returned home after that argument. His father said he was an embarrassment to the family and would not amount to anything.
After that argument Skip joined the Army, spent a tour in Nam, went to college, married and raised a family. A few years ago he sold his medical supply company and retired to Loreto, Mexico on the Baja peninsula.
It was quiet existence. Much time was spent walking the beaches, backpacking in the hills, and fishing the Sea of Cortez with other retired friends.
Skip liked times alone, visiting garage sales and second-hand shops. He seldom bought anything, but he had an eye for good things and when something caught his eye he bought it.
There was an old house near the beach. The front yard was full of interesting furniture. This was his kind of place. A place where he could find a curious item or two; claim it for his own or resale for a profit. Although not needing the money he needed the rush of making a deal.
A chest caught his eye. An old chest with leather straps. It was exactly like the one his mother had. It used to sit at the foot of his parents’ bed.
He opened it. Inside was a shoe box. He picked up the shoe box and removed the lid.
Inside, a picture, a boy with his father. It was him and his Dad standing in front of the family car. It was fifty years old. ‘How could that be? He thought. ‘It’s over three thousand miles from home. How did that picture get here?‘ It seemed as if the blood left his heart and his knees weakened. He felt as if he could collapse.
An old man came out of the house. “I’ll make you a good deal on the chest. I moved down here twenty years ago and got the thin some things out.” As soon as the old man saw the picture in Skip’s hands he said, “The picture doesn’t go with it.”
“Is that you and your son?” Skip said.
“Oh, yes,” the old man said. “He’s a successful business man back in the states. I’m proud of that boy.”
“Do you see him often?” Skip said.
The old man hesitated and smiled. “No, I don’t.” The smile fell into sadness.
“Not good, eh,” Skip said.
“I said some things best never said,” the old man said.
“Yeah,” Skip said. “Me too.”
“I knew it was you, Skip” the old man said. “Welcome home.”