A police car, with two officers, stood in front of the house when Travis got home. Travis parked in front of the garage, climbed out of the vehicle, and walked toward the officers, who stood by the car, waiting. Once he reached talking distance he asked, “Can I help you with anything?”

“We came by to tell you that they found Dereck.”

Travis’s heart stopped. Then he realized the sober expression on the officer’s face. Travis stood up straight to his full height and asked, “But?”

“He can’t remember anything. He refuses to believe he knows anything else than Chicago,” the male officer said.

“But that doesn’t make any sense. How could he not want to come home?”

This time the woman spoke, “He doesn’t remember this home. He could have lost his memory in an accident. Anything could have happened.” After she finished speaking, she glanced at the male officer, as though she was asking for permission. Travis tried reading the lady’s face: obviously, there was more to the story then she let on.

“You don’t know what happened?” Travis aimed his question to the lady officer.

But instead the male officer spoke up, “Sir, he’s fine now.”

Travis shifted his weight from one leg to the other and opened his mouth, then closed it again. He shook his head, then asked, “Aren’t you going to bring him home?”

“He’s an adult with a clear mind, he just can’t remember anything from his past. We can’t force him to do anything,” the lady officer said.

“I understand.” Dereck waited a moment to ask, “Do you know where he lives?”

This time the man spoke up, “Yes. But I’m sorry we can’t give you his address.”

“But,” the lady officer quickly added. She looked at the male officer as if she was about to say something she shouldn’t. “He’s working at a grocery store on the outskirts of Chicago.” The male officer gave the lady a stern glance, but the lady officer kept her eyes on Travis.

Travis nodded. He scratched his cheek and said, “Well thanks.” This time he didn’t wait for them to leave, he walked into his house and sat down on the nearest chair.

His hands on his lap, he starred at the floor. Travis could forget this ever happened, pretend Dereck was dead and tell his parents they didn’t find Dereck after all. Mom and Dad are already pretending he’s dead. It wouldn’t hurt anyone—except for him. Travis hid his face in his hands, as tears began to swell up in his eyes. Why like this?
***
Travis tossed in his bed, adjusted the blanket, then punched the pillow and repeated the process—but he had to much on his mind to sleep. He had to tell his parents—he just had to. Mom and Dad might think they don’t want to believe that Dereck is alive, but Travis knew deep down they wanted nothing more. He would tell them in the morning. He would tell them about Dereck and his plans to bring him back. Or should he not tell his parents about his plans? Maybe that would just arise false hope—but hope is what he’d been leaning on all along. He would let his parents hope; if he brought Dereck home, then they could see that Travis’s hope all these years had not been a waste.

Travis turned his head to the night stand: the clock showed 5:04. He swung his legs unto the carpet and stretched. After he got dressed, he walked down the hallway, into his office, sat down at his desk and went to work. God had rewarded thirteen years of hoping and praying; he wasn’t about to let his brother slip away now.
***
“Good morning son. How is it that you’re always here in the morning? Don’t you ever go to work?” Dad teased as Travis entered the house.

Travis walked straight to the table, this was a meeting, not a visit.

“Could I get you some coffee?” asked Mom.

“No thanks.” Travis held up his hand. “I’ve already had mine. I’m here to tell you something just because I think you ought to know, not because your opinion is going to make a difference in my decision.”

His parents stood side by side, starring at Dereck. Obviously, they were shocked by his behavior, but he had to stay firm, he would not let his parent’s anger or pain get in the way this time. His parents sat down and waited for Travis to begin speaking. Travis saw their concerned faces and immediately felt guilty for the way he acted, and for what he was about to tell them, but he had to do what he had to do.

“Yesterday morning—after I told Dad everything I knew about Dereck—” Travis paused, giving Mom, who glanced at Dad, time to think about what Travis meant. “Two police officers informed me that they now know for sure that they found Dereck. He’s living in Chicago, but he doesn’t remember anything. Somehow, he must have been in an accident where he lost his memory; now he refuses to believe that he has a home outside of Chicago. He doesn’t know about us.”

Travis waited for his parents to say something. Mom held on to Dad’s arm like she might fall forward. Dad stared at the table the same way he had the night he found out Dereck went missing.

But this time Dad didn’t yell when he spoke: “How can we convince him to come home?”
Travis starred at Dad. Did he want his son home after all? Travis glanced at Mom, then smiled at Dad when he said, “I’m going to Chicago.”

“Then I’m coming to.” Dad didn’t smile, but Travis saw the hope in his eyes.

They looked at Mom, who still stared at the table, and waited for her to say something. Slowly, she lifted her head and said, “I’ll be fine. You two . . . bring my son home.”

To be continued . . .

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