Trudi’s Homecoming Party

By Susan Brown

 

Trudi​​ had been feeling vaguely restless for a few days now, ever since she’d​​ had that little flu bug.​​ She hadn’t wanted to be at the party her children were throwing in her home, but​​ in​​ all​​ the conversations she’d overheard, they were​​ incredibly​​ worried that she wouldn’t be there or that she wouldn’t like it.​​ So, even though partying wasn’t​​ her thing,​​ Trudi​​ was​​ determined to show up for them.

As she passed​​ Cathy and Kristen, both​​ rushing around, making plans, calling people, cleaning,​​ she did her best to reassure them, that if they​​ were​​ throwing​​ a party for her, she would love it. No matter what.​​ And really, they should just relax.​​ A party was a party, and it was up to the guests to be pleased and enjoy themselves.

It was also up to her,​​ Trudi​​ decided a little wearily, to practice what she preached and take part with her best smiles and​​ best​​ attitude.​​ And it would be nice to see all her friends, of course.

And so here she was.​​ 

For a few minutes she​​ did hold​​ back​​ and​​ just watched.​​ “Not really a party person,”​​ Trudi​​ murmured to herself. All her life, she’d preferred being​​ in her own home​​ with her family,​​ and until he’d passed, with Geoff, her husband.​​ For her, it was never boring.​​ 

In fact, these last few days after she’d finally gotten out of that hospital, she’d loved the quiet of her home and just being with her family.​​ She was blissfully grateful that they’d all come to be with her when she’d been sick.​​ The energy and antics of her grandchildren kept her​​ in a constant ripple of laughter.​​ Four-year-old Colby​​ never stopped​​ moving, and​​ three-year-old​​ Bella climbed the kitchen counters like a mountaineer on Everest.​​ 

Trudi​​ watched with a gleam of​​ amusement​​ as a pair of small hands sneaked up over the side of the table to snag a couple of cupcakes.​​ At least​​ Cathy and Hoa would be the ones​​ dealing​​ with toddlers with sick stomachs!

Trudi​​ looked around with pleasure.​​ Her family had​​ really outdone themselves.​​ Flowers decorated several of the tables​​ and​​ scented the room.​​ Hoa, her​​ chef​​ son-in-law,​​ had made​​ all​​ her favorites…and a few more​​ tasty bits too.​​ Nice!​​ Hoa​​ had not skimped even a little –​​ Geoff​​ (God rest his soul) had been absolutely right.​​ The boy​​ was​​ a​​ great addition to the family,​​ a good husband for Cathy, and a great father.​​ Who would have thought​​ Hoa​​ would be such a gem​​ when​​ Cathy​​ first brought him home?​​ Trudi​​ pressed her daughter’s hand as she passed; their love had always been in wordless touches.​​ 

Kristen, her shy daughter,​​ was sitting in a corner, out of view of most of the people.​​ The music chosen for the party was​​ upbeat (Trudi​​ recognized​​ happily that the​​ playlist consisted of​​ all her favorites), but​​ music​​ didn’t seem to be cheering Kristen.​​ Trudi​​ murmured hellos to her friends,​​ but made a beeline for her youngest daughter. Something had really upset her girl,​​ even though Kristen​​ was being as stoical as she could be.

Putting​​ an​​ arm around her daughter,​​ Trudi​​ slid into the chair beside her, and just hugged for a few minutes.​​ When tears started forming in Kristen’s eyes, she hugged harder and murmured, “Love you,​​ sweetheart.​​ How can I help?”

​​ “Oh, Mom,” the words came out like a long,​​ soft breath of pain.

​​ “It’s okay, baby.​​ It’s okay.”​​ 

Trudi​​ glanced up and saw that Geoff was sending Cathy over, pointing at the tears on her​​ sister’s​​ face.​​ Cathy enveloped​​ Kristen​​ and surprisingly both started crying.​​ 

Trudi​​ leaned back, bewildered.​​ What kind of​​ miserable​​ party was this anyway?​​ 

And, how could​​ Geoff,​​ her darling, achingly dead husband, be pulling her into his arms?​​ She began to understand.

Clinging to​​ him,​​ gulping back sobs​​ herself,​​ Trudi​​ lifted her head.

This party…damn!​​ 

The feeling of restless confusion began to fade, so she​​ took a long​​ moment to look around.​​ When she​​ spotted​​ Colby​​ grabbing​​ another cupcake,​​ Trudi​​ couldn’t help but laugh​​ softly.​​ Still gripping Geoff’s hand (she was never letting go again) she pointed at their grandson. Geoff’s chuckle filled her heart.

​​ “This is my funeral, isn’t it?”

Geoff​​ grinned.​​ “Actually, a wake.​​ The girls didn’t think you’d want something formal at a funeral parlor.”

Trudi​​ nodded.​​ “It’s perfect…here in my home…it’s perfect.”

​​ “The kids did a​​ great​​ job.”​​ Trudi​​ and Geoff looked around, friends, food and family.​​ 

Then they went back to their two girls and wrapped their love around them.​​ 

​​ “It’s okay, they murmured.​​ It’ll all be okay.”

 

 


About The Author

I love to write! And I love to write for teens. Since I was a kid, bored with school, I’ve been making up stories. Eventually I became a journalist, got married, had kids, adopted dogs and started writing books in earnest. Three followed, plus two more co-authored with Anne Stephenson.

I’ll be publishing a half dozen new books in the next year or two, some fantasy and some realistic which I hope will appeal to teen readers – I’ve had quite a few kids read them and gotten a thumbs up! Check out my website at www.susanbrownwrites.com