"Attention passengers this is your Captain speaking. We will be arriving in New York in about ½ an hour. I hope you have enjoyed your flight and will fly with us again."
Tony's heart skipped several beats. He was almost there. Home. Finally. The past two months had been some of the worst of his life. Even more so than when Marie had died. In that situation as hard as it had been he knew it was the end. She was gone and was never coming back. Plus,the fact that he had a young daughter to take care of. This time was different though. His little girl was now a young woman in college and - he still had trouble believing this part- a married woman. He chuckled softly. The two of them had certainly come a long way since they had packed up all of their belongings and loaded them in his old beat up van and driven to Connecticut for a job he wasn't 100% sure he even had. Luckily, things had worked out and he had found the second love of his life; not to mention a boy he considered his son and a woman who at times was exasperating but whom he also considered one of his dearest friends.
He was feeling a mixture of emotions now like he had felt then. Nervousness. Would she welcome him back? Excitement. He was finally going home where he belonged. He really felt a strange sense of deja vu. Just like when he left Brooklyn he had given up his job and apartment for the unknown. He had taken a big risk leaving behind his home and going to Connecticut and now he was taking another. But, he knew in his heart he had made the right decision. He missed her. The job had been wonderful. Everyone had welcomed him with open arms but without her things weren't the same.
He thought back over the evening. There had been an awards ceremony where he had received an award for outstanding new teacher of the year. At the after party people swirled around him and he had felt…...lonely. Here he was surrounded by his daughter, Dr Graham, Candy, his team, their families, and he felt nothing but loneliness. He had never in his life felt like that. He had always been a people person and enjoyed talking to them but at that moment he had felt lost. He had gone outside to get some fresh air leaving behind the laughter and chatter.
Once outside he thought over the past. Life had been good. Life had been hard. But, the best had been with her. Sure they had had their problems but they had gotten through it. But now she was gone. The day she had walked out of his office he still remembered vividly. He had been so happy to win the championship and the fact that the school wanted him for another three years. He had been on top of the world. No one but him had known it then but he had been planning to surprise her with her own engagement ring. She had been wearing the ring Mona had loaned him and he had made a vow that one day he would give her her own ring. He couldn't wait to give it to her. He thought it would be the proverbial icing on the cake. Then he saw her face and knew that probably wasn't going to happen.
Instead of joy there had been fear. After everyone else had left they had a long talk. He still remembered every word and every facial expression. But when she had said: "I'm sorry," and walked out, well that had been one of the most devastating moments of his life. He knew he should have stopped her but he hadn't. He figured that she was right. He was doing what he was meant to do. He scoffed at himself. If doing what he was meant to do meant missing her than he wasn't. Sure the job was great he wasn't going to deny that but without her by his side it just… wasn't what he wanted to do anymore. He had gone back inside and told Sam that he was going back to his apartment. Once there he realized he had no one to show his plaque to. Well of course there had been many people that he had shown it to. But, the most important person in his life- next to his daughter- hadn't and he wanted her to. The award was as much hers as it was his. Without her love and encouragement he wouldn't be the man he was today. He knew then and there he needed to go home. Home to her.
He left and went back to the party and asked to speak to Dr Graham in private. He told him that as much as he loved and appreciated the job and opportunity he had no other choice but to quit. He needed to go home. Luckily he had understood and had even told him that he had been waiting for him to resign because he knew how lost he had been without Angela. After everyone else had been told -with their blessings and well wishes- he and Samantha got on next available flight to New York. He thought it only fitting that Sam was sitting beside him. She had been there when they had left Brooklyn nearly a decade ago and now she was with him once again. He glanced over at her and smiled. She smiled back.
"We're almost home Dad. How are you doing?"
"I'm nervous. I'm excited. I'm…" He took a deep breath. "I'm feeling so many things right now I can barely think straight. I mean what if she doesn't want me back?"
"She does Dad. She misses you as much as you miss her. The two of you just need to talk and you have to convince her that this is the right thing for both of you."
"It is. I know it is. I guess I'm just anxious. I miss her so much. I was a fool to let her go."
"You both were." In the beginning Sam had been furious with Angela. How could she had left her Father like that? But, after the two of them had talked she had understood how painful it been for her to leave. But hopefully that was all in the past now. Her Dad was on his way home and soon everything would be all right.
"Yeah we were. We were both so wrong about everything."
"And now you're going to make things right."
"You got it honey." He chuckled. "You know I'm getting a weird sense of deja vu."
Puzzled she turned to him. "How so?"
"Well think about it. We left Brooklyn to go to Connecticut all those years ago and now we're leaving Iowa to go to back to Connecticut. You were by side then and now you're by my side now."
"Of course we are dressed better now." She laughed.
"And you don't have that shiner."
"We've come a long way."
"We sure have. From an ex-pro ball player to a housekeeper to a college professor. And you. From my little girl with a shiner to a beautiful young woman. I'm so proud of you honey."
"I'm proud of both of us." Tony was about to respond when the captain came over the intercom once again:
Attention passengers we are preparing to land. Please make sure you stow your belongings. Than you and once again I hope you have enjoyed your flight."
After they landed they hailed a cab to take them back to Connecticut. After what seemed like forever they finally arrived home. They paid the driver and got out of the cab and looked up at the house. It was just like he had remembered it.
"So you ready Dad?"
"Well go get her! And remember Dad don't tell that joke about the pig with the wooden leg."
He rolled his eyes. "Very funny."
She laughed. "Okay Dad you know we'll all be waiting at Mona's." Sam had called Hank before they had boarded to tell him that they were on their way home and he in turn had told Mona and Jonathan. The three of them were now waiting in Mona's apartment. They hugged and Sam went around back to the apartment while Tony walked up to the house. He tapped the ring box in his pocket, took a deep breath, and rang the doorbell.
Home. He was finally home.