“Susan, sit down, please. They’ll get here when they get here!”
But Susan kept pacing, “I know, Mom, but what if he’s not there? I don’t know what I’d do if he isn’t.”
Another woman took Susan’s hand, “Don’t worry about a thing, Susan, I’m sure everything will be alright.”
Susan sat down next to her, “Mary, how can you be so optimistic when he’s your son?”
Mary smiled, “It’s exactly because he’s my son that I know everything will be alright. He was only missing in action, Susan, not killed in action.”
Susan stood up, “But he could have been killed while he was missing! Oh, the wait is killing me!”
“Not literally, I hope, wouldn’t want my son to come home and find his wife dead!” remarked one of the men who walked over to where the two women sat, and Susan paced.
“George, be nice! Susan’s just as worried as we are about Peter!”
“Well, of course she should be, he is her husband and he’s been in a war, off doing the same bravado as his Uncle Harry.”
“George, really, you should be proud of Peter!”
“Well, I am, I’d just be even more proud if he came home alive just like his Uncle Harry. This will be one of the best Christmases if he does.”
“Oh George,” Mary smiled as she hugged her husband. “I’m sure everything will be alright.”
“Everything will, if Susan doesn’t walk a hole into the floor,” remarked the other man.
“I’m serious Doris, she’s going to make me go crazy if she doesn’t stop pacing like that.”
Doris sighed, smiling, “Alright, Fred. Susan, can you please sit down?” Susan finally sat down, but she was so nervous that she began twiddling her fingers and twisting her hat into knots. Fred opened his mouth to say something else, but a noise from the P. A. system stopped him.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the 5 o’clock train has pulled into the station. I repeat, the 5 o’clock train has pulled into the station. Let’s hear a warm welcome for our returning troops. Welcome back, and thank you for your service!” A cheer went up all around the train station from the various families who were waiting for the return of their loved ones. Soon, soldier after soldier walked onto the platform, and many families were reunited joyfully. Others received a notice that their loved ones were not able to make it as they were still recovering from injuries. But as the train emptied, there was no sign of Peter, nor any notice that he was recovering. The five waited for a couple of hours, until every man was off the train, before they decided to return home disappointed, Susan most of all.
“Oh, something’s happened. Why didn’t anyone tell us?” muttered Susan as they left the station.
“Oh Susan, maybe he’s still missing, they might not know what’s happened to him,” remarked Doris as they piled into the car. The ride home was quiet, each to their own thoughts, for the most part. Doris could hear Susan muttering under her breath, “I believe, I believe.” She smiled, the last time Susan did that, she got a new home and a new father. Maybe it would work yet again, they just had to get home and find out. The door was opened by a very straight-faced Tommy Bailey, causing Susan’s spirits to sink.
“Sue, there’s a guy here to talk to you about Peter. He’s waiting in the living room.” Susan’s mind panicked, but she kept her cool and walked to the living room. A man was sitting with Tommy’s sisters and their husbands, but he rose when Susan walked into the room.
Susan gasped, “Peter!!” She rushed into her husband’s arms, the two kissing lovingly.
“Tommy Bailey, you little sneak!” quipped Fred as he grabbed the young man and ruffled his hair. Even George had to laugh as he and his wife came forward to welcome their son home. Tears of relief mingled with smiles of joy as the family was finally reunited for Christmas.