The house looks the same.
We help Mom up the four steps to the porch, and Becky unlocks the door. Inside, light filters through lace curtains into the hall's dim cave. It smells the same.
I start to bring in bags from the car. Part of me wants to run upstairs and see my old room. But I'll have time.
"Mom, I want to go see the kids, and then I'll stop by with some groceries later."
"I can go get something."
"No, it's okay. I have a car."
The screen door shuts behind her. It isn't that warm, so I close the door.
"Let's find some sweaters and sit outside," Mom says. I hadn't thought about how she might be feeling cooped up, hadn't thought about her flower beds or her garden--way behind by now, a season lost.
I gather wraps from closets and drawers, and pick up some blankets, too. We settle into the chairs on the front porch.
"It's good to be back home."
I assent silently.
"How long will you be here?"