The Homecoming

7:31 AM


 

       As the weeks went by, David slowly became re-accustomed to the single life. He told himself he felt freer than he had in a long while. He could flirt with girls again. He could really zero in on his studies and he could hang out with his friends more than he had in the past year. 

"Dude, word on the street is you've gotten rid of the old ball and chain!" 

One of David's friends questioned him as he walked into the common room one day. 

"Breakups are the worst, man. We've got your back. Hey Gary, what do you think? Breakup party?" 

With a nod that was the epitome of chill, Gary sauntered to the dorm balcony, shouting as if to muster the troops. 

"BREAKUP PARTY!!!!!" 

Soon enough, music was pumping, and dozens of unknowns had filtered through the doors. Gary, stood at the door, beer in hand, as a self-appointed bouncer, checking out the girls as they passed.

"Hotness check!" he grinned and gave a half bow as the cheerleading squad started filing in giggling en masse. 

Behind them, an awkward nerd from the Theater Department waited in goggling admiration. 

"You do not pass the hotness check, dude" Gary slurred at the severely pimpled Freshman.

"No. Emmm no," he looked around nervously, pulling out some expensive lighting he'd clearly stolen out of his backback.

"But does anybody need some lights?" 

"Little dude! Yes!" Gary put an arm around the freshman's neck and dragged him through the door. 

"This kid's got some lights for us!" Gary roared over the crowd. 

"LIGHTS, LIGHTS, LIGHTS, LIGHTS YOOOOOO!!!" 

The partygoers cheered in unison while lifting the astonished teenager and his equipment toward the ceiling as the newly hailed hero. Before long, the booze was flowing and groups of couples were making out on the various common room couches. A tall cheerleader who'd always had her eye on David, made her way slowly towards him from across the room. She was stunning. In fact, far more attractive than Jessie had ever been. This girl looked like she'd walked straight off the screen. David took another gulp of his drink.

"Hey David." Her gorgeous blonde hair tumbled tumbled over his shoulder as she leaned in close. 

"I am so, so sorry to hear about Jessie." She waited with catlike precision for a reply.

"Yeah, well. You know how these things go." 

With a satisfied look at his answer, she put a hand on his knee. 

"I am so here if you need me," she flashed him a sympathetic yet entrancing smile. David had the sudden feeling of becoming trapped prey. 

"Oh, what the heck?" 

Skipping the small talk, he pulled her into his arms, willing away the pain that welled up in his chest at the thought of Jessie's face. Where was she tonight? What was she doing and what was she thinking? Disgust for himself rose and he pushed the girl away forcefully. 

"Look, thanks but... I can't."

The tigress showed her teeth. 

"Thanks? Thanks? Are you for real? Do you know how many guys would like to make out with me? No wonder she dumped you. Loser." The blonde threw a half filled can of beer at him in a parting shot. 

Reeling away from the lights, the music, all of it, David moved towards the door, pushing his way past another crowd of girls passing the "hot check." At this point everyone was far too wasted to know or care where he went. Making his way to the dark, empty football field, David breathed in the fresh air and took a seat in the grass, looking up at the sky with its few winking stars. As a child, David's father had taught him all of the constellations. 

"They're more than just stars, David. These are stories God has written in the sky to tell us about himself." 

At 16, both the stars and the stories had been eclipsed with the death of his father. And what would his dad think of him now, David thought to himself mournfully. He'd gotten a girl pregnant and then left her when she wouldn't abort the baby. While his academic accomplishments were impressive, in that moment, the reflection of his character weighed upon him heavily. 

"To thine own self be true. Then thou canst, not then, be false to any man."

His father had struggled to get the familiar words out as he lay on his deathbed. How often had he spoken them to David as a child? Once again, the now familiar feeling of shame welled up inside him, shame and rage. Raising a fist to the sky, he yelled.

"You took him! You took him and now you're trying to destroy me too! He said you were good and then YOU took him! You're not good. You're evil. You're evil." 

David fell to his knees in the field, tears coming. He hadn't cried at the funeral. He had wanted to be a man, but none of that mattered now. Roaring his pain into the grass, a strange sensation overtook him. It was as if a pair of strong arms had wrapped around his entire body. For the first time in His life, David felt the overwhelming and unmistakeable presence of God. Not a word was spoken, but the presence was warmer, kinder, and greater than anything he'd ever felt in his life. The orphaned feeling that had haunted him since his father's death receded in the warmth of the great King. There was no more need for words. His spirit and God's communicated in a higher way. After what seemed like hours, David spoke. 

"I've run, but I'll run no longer. Jesus, I surrender."

In the echoes of eternity, space, and time, a new party was thrown that night. Once again, it was for David. The broken son had at last come home. 

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