Ron answered the front door and saw his neighbor Peter whom he hadn’t seen in decades.
“Ron, how the hell are ya?” Peter asked. “Welcome home!”
“Thank you,” Ron smiled as they shared a tight embrace. “It’s great to be back.”
“And back in your old house,” Peter grinned back.
“And back in the old neighborhood, just the way it was before my transfer to Florida.”
“Amazing how time flies,” Peter shook his head. “The golden years sure catch up to you before you know it. ”
“Thanks for reminding me,” Ron sighed. “Please come in.”
Peter stepped inside and looked around the house before taking a seat in the living room next to Ron. “Looks nice in here. Just the way it was when you lived here back in the 60’s. Where’s the wife?”
“She’s out running some errands. She’ll be home shortly.”
“Ah. So how’s the rest of the family? Kids all grown up?”
There was an uncomfortable pause in the conversation before Ron responded, “Mostly.”
“Mostly? What happened?”
“Ian passed away last year.”
Another uncomfortable pause.
“Ron, I’m so sorry,” Peter replied softly. “What happened to him?”
“Well, basically I threw him out of the house. He spent his 50 years just idling away in his room with no job, no education and no desire to move out and start living his own life. I lost my patience with him and just showed him the door.”
Peter nodded. “Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.”
Ron nodded back. “Anyway, a month later, someone found Ian’s body in the woods. It’s sad to see a life wasted like that.”
“Ron, no one ever lives a wasted life.”
Yet another uncomfortable silence began to set in. Peter’s eyes began wandering around the living room before they focused on what looked like a family portrait hanging on the wall. Ron noticed this and spoke up, “That was taken at Disney World last month. A family reunion of sorts.”
Peter stood up and walked to the portrait for a closer look. “Nice. Ah, there’s Jeff and Sue. I still remember them when they were just kids. And now, they’re all grown up with families of their own.”
Then Peter fell silent. The silence lingered to the point where Ron began to sense something was wrong.
“Are you all right, Peter?”
“Ron, did you say Ian passed away last year?”
“Yes, I did.”
“And this picture was taken last month?”
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
Peter turned to face Ron. “Ian’s in this picture.”
“Take a look at this.”
Ron stood up and joined Peter. Peter pointed a shaky finger at the person standing behind Ron in the portrait.
“Oh my God,” Ron whispered. “You’re right.”