Meirose, after years away, came home. He packed himself up from the faraway land he had escaped to and came home. He threw on his dark cloak with the black hood and came home. He stepped on the dirt road east and came home. He made his way through the Canyons of Sorrow and came home. He crossed the green valleys and snow-capped mountains and came home. He walked hard roads and hidden paths and came home. He crossed the Bridge of Sorrows and came home. He went through the Gate of Regret and came home.
Down the Aisle of Trees past the Street of Justification, he went. His stride was slow and even, one foot hesitantly stepping before the other.
He came to the house of his father. There were flowers everywhere around the house. Red ones and white and yellow. It was spring when Meirose came home. He made his way through the wooden gate to his father’s house. He had not so much hope but fear that his family might not open their arms for him. He had not been a good son. Here he was at the front door, knocking, knowing he was not about to be forgiven. After all, he had stolen from them.
He had stolen their love. He had stolen their faith. He had stolen their compassion. He had stolen their trust. Now the thief had returned, and he knocked on his father’s door. That large wooden door with his father’s coat of arms embossed into it.
He heard sounds coming from the inside of the house. His hands shook. His heart beat faster. His eyes spread their tears upon his face as he waited. He waited on the sounds. He waited on the footsteps. He waited for someone in his family to answer the door.
Before Meirose stood his brother. Before Meirose stood his younger sibling. Before Meirose stood a man he didn’t recognize. He was tall and handsome, his hair sitting easily on his shoulders. He had his father’s dark eyes and his mother’s nose. And his voice was his own. “May I help you?” the man asked.
“Don’t you recognize me? Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you remember? I am the black sheep returned to beg for a forgiveness that I do not expect.”
Happiness seized the brother. Joy overcame him. Love threw its arms around his brother as he embraced the man who was Meirose.
That night there was dancing and drinking and laughing and hugging and a great feast at the home of the father of Meirose. The old man sat at the great table with wonder on his face. His prayers had been answered. He could now die in peace.