Author: Heather R. Parker

What a long trip. Gone for four years, studying at Nivoria University in the Sao X3D Galaxy, and another whole year to get back to Earth. I couldn’t exactly pop home on the weekends or on holidays. Now, as my ship touches down on Earth for the first time in ages, I’m overwhelmed with emotion.

Everything looks so…vintage, I think laughingly as I make my way to my house. That’s the problem with being in space for too long. Everything looks archaic on Earth now. I couldn’t wait to see the look on my mother’s face. I smile at the thought. I’d been 18 when I’d left. She might not recognize me. I’m a for-real man now, with a beard and everything.

I walk up the short drive to our house. Only…it looks different. There is no two-car garage that was added on when I was six. The house looks even newer now than when I left. Odd. Maybe Mom had spruced up the place a bit since I had left.

I don’t have a key, so I knock. I don’t want to startle my poor mother. She wasn’t expecting me, as I had wanted to surprise her.

A young mother, three small children loudly playing in the living room behind her, answers the door. She looks oddly familiar. I step back and look at the numbers on the house again. 2476 Elm Drive. This is my house. Only…it isn’t…is it?

“May I help you, sir?” The woman’s kind eyes crinkle in a smile as she wipes her hands on her faded floral apron.

“Um, I’m sorry, I think I have the wrong house. My parents used to live here. But I’ve been at university in the Sao Galaxy for the last five years, they must’ve moved. It’s hard getting transmissions in that far into space sometimes,” I laugh, trying to hold in the unease I feel.

“Who are your parents? Maybe I can help you.” She steps onto the porch, leaving the door cracked to listen to her playing children.

“Well, my father passed when I was three, but my mother’s name is Sarah Golding.”

“How strange, I’m Sarah Golding!”

Suddenly the world tilts on its axis. The house, so new…the cars that look 20 years out of date…this kind young mother, who wasn’t just familiar, she was—

“Mother, is that you?”