David

I never thought I would end up back here again; back where it all started. It feels as if no time has passed at all, but at the same time so many things have changed beyond my recognition, it's scary. Don't get me wrong the place itself looks the same as it always did, same old, slightly worn houses, same old streets, as if it's been stuck in a time warp all these years. I think there is something quite comforting in that. I didn't want to back never in a million years; to many dark and depressing memories of the mixed up kid I used to be. As soon as I walked up to that peeling green door; behind which I grew up, I felt as if I had come home and this time I was damned if I was going to run away again. The time I spent waiting behind that door felt endless. By the time my daughter, who I hadn't seen for a long time, answered the door, she had aged way beyond her years. Bianca looked tired and gaunt, as if she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. As soon as she saw me, she flung her arms around me and sobbed into my chest. Just like that she was my little girl again.

'Sshhh it's okay. Everything's going to be okay. I'm back now and I'm not going anywhere. I promise darling'

'I'm so sorry dad, so sorry...'

With that she burst into tears again, loud heart retching sobs so painful I thought my heart would burst. It reminded just how much of her life I had missed and I was overwhelmed by an emotion which I had felt many a time before, but it wasn't until this moment I understood what it was. Guilt had the power to eat you up and spit you back out again. I suppose that is the reason why I have been running all my life, because of the guilt. When Bianca looked up at me next, her eyes red and puffy, she spoke so softly I almost didn't catch her next words, either that or I didn't want to believe what she was saying.

'I'm so sorry Dad, you're too late Pat passed away just a few minutes ago'.

The look on my face must have worried Bea because she was instantly at my side, her arm around my back and was guiding me into the house. All I heard though my grief created haze was Bea's voice 'Come on Dad; let's get in the house, eh?'