The night was crisp, and rather cold this evening. I stood outside the house that I had vowed never to return to. Each note that rang out from the living room was as sharp and clear as I remembered them being, as they drifted through the frosty winter air.
The lights were on, a beacon showing the way home for a weary traveller, reminding me of what I had turned my back on. Apart from the music, there was no other sound. Christmas is a season for rejoicing for most other people, but here it reminds them of me, and what I did.
I took a step forward, and then stopped again. They were playing my favourite piece now. It seems like I was not entirely forgotten to them. I picked my bag up and slung it over my shoulder.
The ten steps I had to take to reach the front door felt as though they would take a million years to complete. I paused after each step, wondering if I was doing the right thing, wondering if they could ever forgive what had happened. I almost turned around to walk away several times.
The music kept on. All my favourite pieces. I felt as though the music was mocking me, showing me that they had moved on after I had left. But they hadn't. There was no laughter. No one was singing. The joy that had once permeated my home was gone.
I finally reached the front door. I tested the handle, it was unlocked. I pushed it open. The door moved easily enough, but it screeched as it did so. The music stopped. I stood still, hoping that they would ignore the sound. They did. The music started again, another piece I could remember playing.
I eased the door closed. This time I made sure there was no sound. I crept through the darkened halls until I reached my room. I opened the door and stepped inside. It was the same as the day I left it, just with a lot more dust. I sat down on the bed, and slid my bag from my shoulder.
I stayed there for a few minutes before rising, and walking out of my room, I went to the gallery. Every single member of our family had a portrait in there, as well as many of our friends. Old friends and family seemed to jump out at me, like they wanted me to realise what I had missed.
My old commanding officer was there, with his wife and two kids. The next picture was of me, with his little girl. She wasn't so little in that picture though; she had been about seventeen, eighteen when it was taken. She was a beautiful young girl, her whole life ahead of her. I loved her. I never found out why she left me.
I moved on to the next picture. It was of a tiny little girl. I didn't recognise her. The plaque at the bottom of the picture said her name. Abigail. Abigail Grace. Another child in my family that I didn't know about. A child that probably didn't know about me.
I walked down to the living room. It was time to face the music.
The doors were open. Everyone's attention was on a tiny child at the piano. She would have only have been about six or seven. She finished the piece she was playing and turned to bow. She saw me leaning in the doorway. Her eyes grew wide, and everyone began to turn to see what was going on. Her face suddenly lit up in a huge smile,
"Daddy, You're home!"