So much to do, Celia sighs, before Robert Junior gets home. She straightens his room for the thirtieth time. The refrigerator has been stocked, and re-stocked. His favorite shows are once again front and center on the DVD shelf. Four years of her baby being away, except for the odd holiday and she is utterly over the moon. Robert Senior just rolls his eyes as she buzzes about like a bee. He does not understand.
To him, his boy is just coming back from the army, just like he did. Just like his old man Junior was sent into a strange land where no one wanted him there, where you could not tell your friend from your enemy. Robert does not like to reflect too much on his boy being away and where, because it takes him back to South East Asia. So for him, it is just a relief, knowing his only son is out of that. He will hug him and say nothing more of it, because he already knows.
Celia does not, and it is better that way, so she keeps herself occupied with preparations. She plans for his welcome home party. Invitations have been sent out to everyone on their street, even Julia, whose poor Hector did not come home. Julia has been her partner in crime the last couple of weeks and they have run out shopping and telling all the neighbors: Robert Junior is coming home.
He is coming home and she has his books bought for college for him. He is coming home and he has a room to stay in while he takes advantage of that GI Bill. He is coming home and she is ready to hear him tell her all his stories about the guys in his platoon that he shared her cookies with. He is coming home, and he is not leaving again, for a good long time.
Hours, days, and weeks of getting ready and Celia has taken care of so much before this day. She has readied herself since the day he left for boot camp. She has taken so many measures to greet her boy, and still, as the car pulls up, her heart leaps to her throat. She has done it all, and does not know what to do next.
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