He looked at it. Green, creaky, and old. The pathway to a world adjoining his own. He closed his eyes and remembered the day.
It was full of the worst rain he could remember. But he was probably being biased. He was sure that weather man said there was worse storms this past year alone.
But that didn't matter. To him, that day was always the grayest, with the coldest showers from the heavens. The sidewalk seemed a bit more heartless as they walked, in their expedition gear, to the dingiest, dirty yellow cab and drove out of his life.
Was it silly to remember this? Maybe. But was it really silly to hope, that, one day, they'd all return and stay.
He sighed and went over to the kitchen table. Pookie was out buying some groceries, and most of the borders (including Kokoshka, of all people) were out. He was all alone.
He sighed and opened the fridge. But he wasn't necessarily looking for food; he was just trying to distract himself.
He eventually settled on getting a sandwich and some of the raspberry cobbler that always upset his stomach.
He sighed. He still wasn't used to the concept of being alone. Of having this usually full house to himself.
But he couldn't enjoy it. He didn't want to.
When young Arnold was in fifth grade, he went on a trip to San Lorenzo and found his parents after a long journey through the forest. With help from his little friend, with the pink bow and the one eyebrow.
Phil remembered the day his son and daughter-in-law walked through the door. The old, green, creaky door. The moment was one he was unsure would ever come. Although he tried to seem put together and optimistic in front of Arnold, the truth was that Phil had given up hope about his son's return many years ago.
The reunion was beautiful, and it felt like everything in Phil's life was going to end on a happily ever after. His son and daughter-in-law finally completed the family Pookie, Arnold, and he mostly lacked. Arnold FINALLY opened his eyes and dated his "Gertie" and the boarding house seemed like a warmer, family-friendlier place...
Until his son told him the news.
It seemed that the San Lorenzo government were going to build a clinic closer to the village of the Green Eyes. But, to do this, there were forbidding people from coming or leaving the country for the next year.
Miles and Stella did not like this; the GreenEyes were their friends, and they wanted to see the project through. They decided to go, and make sure nothing fishy was about to happen.
But Arnold overheard everything. How they were going to leave, and how they would stay in San Lorenzo for the next year.
Phil knew Arnold was strong, but he also knew Arnold was sensitive about anything concerning his parents. Despite the boy's strength, he knew what he would choose to do.
And he was right.
Usually, Phil loved being right. He would show off how right he was, but, this time, he dreadfully wished he was wrong. He wanted to be wrong.
Which brought him to think of the day. The rainiest day, on his account, that Hillwood had ever seen (and he knew Helga and Pookie would agree). There stood three figures; Miles, Stella, and Arnold, dressed in lifeless brown coats. The took a old umbrella, and said their goodbyes.
But this separation hurt more then the first for Phil.
This time, he wasn't just losing his son and his daughter-in-law. He was losing Arnold; his surrogate son. He was losing his family. The one that was brought back together just a handful of years earlier were being torn apart from his life. And this tear was the most painful to bear.
Which brought him back to the door. The old, green, creaky door. He knew it was just a door. He knew it shouldn't make him remember happier times, or break his usually vigor spirit, but he couldn't help it.
Because it wasn't just a door to him.
It had become the last bits of hope for a family that he kept losing.
It had been 9 months, today, and he sighed.
Maybe, his hope was already lost...