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5 When Is Dinner Anyway?

“At about seven, that’s when Mr. Rockweiler comes.” I said, opening the front door of the 2 storey cabin and basking in the almost dusk air. Wide open space greeted me, the landscape of endless trees some meters away after that and the orangey backdrop of the sky bringing me back to my childhood. If I close my eyes and listen carefully, I could hear the laughter of small kids rushing to the open space we called the foyer, as the horn was sound. Straight rows now, dad would say, and no talking until we’re done counting heads. I would be standing in front of two straight rows, and I would tower above them all, because I was older by two years and naturally tall. The best part about being a camp counselor would be the head count, working my way up the rows, patting a few heads of familiar faces and greeting them with a smile, a promise of another day filled with great adventures. Sometimes, I’d let slip a candy or two, without my dad’s acknowledgment. What can I say, bad habits die hard. And I know a very good friend who’d agree with me on that. I can almost smell them now. The adventures. “That’s an hour from now!” AJ grumbled somewhere in the cabin. “Man I’m hungry.” Brian echoed. There were heavy footsteps running down the wooden stairs and then a loud thud. “I’M OKAY!” Nick cried before I get to pull myself away from the view. “Just trip on these stairs is all!” “We need to start feeding him before he falls all over the place.” Howie said somewhere in there. “Not until this Mr. Rockweiler shows up.” AJ said. “In about an hour.” “Never mind food, there’s no TV. Why bother bringing your Xbox if there’s no TV?” Nick whined. “You bring your Xbox? In that one bag you carried?” Brian asked. “Duh Brian, of course not, but I could have, and it’d be for nothing.” They don’t understand. They don’t know the magic this place has to offer. What it means to me. And if they try to, I doubt they’d come close to how I feel. There’s a part of me that I left behind when I moved to Florida. Stored away up in the Appalachian mountains, preserving. You’ll have to be your own man now and take care of yourself. And you can do that son, I’ve never doubted you. Not you, not your brothers. We know we’ve grown our boys right, dad had said. Leave your child behind, I’ll take care of him, dad had said again. But, I don’t have a child dad. He laughed. That soft, gentle laugh that my family said I had inherited. I know that son. I meant, that child in you, the one who knows he’s the youngest of the family and can get away with anything. Keep him here and I’ll make sure he’s preserved with the good air and the natural spring, and the magic that is this mountains. Whatever it takes to make sure he’s safe. When you’re ready to take him along with you, come back home. I never did come back for this child. I wasn’t ready to take him when Dad passed away. I hated this place, the memories were constant reminders that my dad was gone. Maybe that’s why I became too protective over AJ and Nick. When I look at them, I see the child I had left behind, alone, up on the mountains. It wasn’t until recently that I realized, Dad was never gone. Forever entombed in this place, along with that child. Every nook and corner, I see Dad. Sometimes he would laugh, and that child in me laughed along with him. I guess that’s why I had decided on this place for us to go. I need to come back home.