It was raining when Frank got off the bus from Edinburgh and walked up to the Kirkcaldy ticket station to buy a ticket to Wellsgreen. He kept looking around to see if he recognized anybody in the crowd, but no. These were all strangers. He wondered if anyone would recognize him now that he was nineteen, several stone heavier, and even taller than when he left. He stood waiting, still in his tattered and filthy uniform, awkwardly watching civilian life. As he stood, he mentally ticked off the things he needed to do. First, he needed to buy civilian clothes. Then he needed to get a job. And he needed – desperately needed – to see Margaret.
The bus lurched to a stop as Frank mused over his impending tasks. He waited as a few elderly ladies boarded the bus… so many ladies, hardly any boys my age, he thought as he climbed aboard.
“Just back fae’ the wa’?” the bus driver asked. Frank hadn’t heard such a broad accent in some time.
“Aye, I am,” he replied.
“Guid luck tae ye, lad. Failte hame.”
Welcome home. That was the first time he had heard that. It felt good.
Frank got off about thirty minutes later. He stopped and looked around. Same shabby old town. The streetlight he and the the boys used to congregate around – there was a new group of young lads under the light. They stopped their conversation to watch Frank walk by. He walked slowly to his parents’ house, but instead of walking around back, he walked up to the front door and knocked.
After a few moments, the door opened.
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