The road was like he remembered. Red dirt fenceposted by oaks and green shrubs. He leaned forward in his seat at every bend in case it was the one. The church was familiar. He passed a wrought iron archway and slammed the brakes, reversed, and turned toward his uncle Warner’s farm.

“Well I’ll be,” Warner called out from the porch. “Tommy come here so I can get a look at you.”

They shook hands. There had never been a time when his uncle’s handshakes hadn’t made him feel miniscule.

“Opal, Tommy’s here! She’ll be out in a minute. Was the trip down alright?” His uncle smiled with that broad grin of his.

“Had a blowout near Albuquerque but triple A took care of it,” Tommy said, retrieving his battered hand.

“Stayin’ a while?”

Tommy looked down at his uncle Warner’s feet, both of which were sunk deep in the red soil. Safe here. A place that had always been waiting for him to return.

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