This story takes its inspiration from the song Oklahoma sung by Billy Gilman.
Ted

Putting Down Roots

by Le Lotus Bleu

Today was the day. He sat on his bed in deep thoughts and waited. The butterflies in his stomach had kept him awake most of the night, so he hadn't had much rest. He was too tense to relax. His life was about to change drastically and the uncertainty frightened him.

He glanced over to his packed suitcases, which importunately reminded him about the imminent events, and quickly shifted his attention back to a more comfortable view, namely the framed picture in his hands of him and his current foster family. He had been living here for more than half a year and had settled down really well, so he didn't want to go. Alas, it was not up to him to decide.

Though he had been relocated countless times before, this time was different. This time he wasn't put into yet another foster home - he was going to move in with his biological father, whom he had never known. His social worker recently succeeded in tracking down his father and apparently his father didn't knew he existed. It was such an overwhelming feeling. For years he had secretly yearned for getting to know his real dad, and suddenly it was about to actually happen.

His thoughts were abruptly interrupted by the sounds of the door bell. The blood in his veins froze to ice and he went numb. This was it. It couldn't be postponed any longer. Now was the time to leave his old life.

His social worker entered his room and greeted him with a smile, but it didn't diminish any of the of anxiety spread all over his face. She sat down beside him and put an arm around his shoulders in an effort to ease his mind. It felt nice, but it didn't really help.

They sat in silence for a moment before she ruffled his black hair and reminded him that the taxi was waiting. He slowly stood up, and with trembling lips and tears in his eyes he hugged his foster parents and said goodbye. He thought of all the nice things they had done for him while he had been living here. They had truly cared for him. What would happen to him now?

They entered the taxi and the boy waved goodbye to his former foster parents, who stood on the porch waving back. As the taxi drove, they went further and further away, until the disappeared completely when the taxi took a turn. Now they were gone.

The social worker asked the boy if he wanted her to tell him about his father while they travelled. He looked at her with moist doe eyes and nodded. She immediately retrieved a folder containing documents and photos.

She handed him a photo of his father. In the picture was a man in his 30s with blond, short hair wearing a green shirt and worn jeans. He looked like a decent, nice guy.

"He used to date your mother," she said while the boy was examining the picture, "She became pregnant with you right before they broke up. She never told your father about you."

He didn't knew how he was supposed to feel about that. He had longed for his father most of his life, but the father had been completely unaware of his existence. How would his father react when he suddenly bounced into his life at such short notice?

"What does he think of me?" the boy dared asking with a quivering voice. Worry glowed out of him like a lump of uranium.

"You have nothing to worry about," she answered and held his hand, "you are very wanted. When we told him about you and showed pictures of you, he cried. He felt terrible for the ordeals you have been through and want to make it up to you. He wants to know you and to be your dad."

She smiled excited to him. "Everything is going to be alright. No more moving around. This will be your true home." Her words were soothing. She actually managed to reduce his anxiety a little.

She handed him another photo with his father together with a woman and a little boy. She continued: "He's married now and has another son. All of them are excited to meet you." The woman had long, black hair and a warm smile, and the boy seemed nice too, though the boy was some years younger than him. Probably 8 or 9 years old.

He continued to browse photos until they reached the airport. Once boarded he tried to rest a little, but his brain wouldn't gear down. All these ambivalent feelings filled his mind. On one hand he was thrilled to meet his father, and on the other he didn't want to.

It was very quiet. Nobody talked, and you could only hear the faint ambient sound of the airplane. Nothing to distract him from all the thoughts that ran through his mind. What would happen if he didn't fit in? What if his father had seconds thoughts later? What if he didn't get along with his future stepmother or half-brother? So many questions. So much uncertainty.

Eventually he managed to doze during much of the flight. When they arrived they took a taxi and continued the last stage of the journey.

As they drove the boy absentmindedly gazed out of the window trying to move focus away from the unpleasant thoughts. He watched the lime leaves on the trees, which were just awakening from sleeping the whole winter. The small seeds in the dirt were starting to sprout and put down roots. Maybe this was the time for the boy to put down roots as well.

The taxi drive was quite short this time. It didn't take a long time before they were at the destination. As they took the last turn the social worker pointed at a huge, yellow house down the road stating that's where the boy was going to live.

It was the sight of the house that finally made the boy truly realise that this was it. He lost his composure and began to weep uncontrollably. He simply couldn't hold back the tears anymore. They kept washing down his face like there was no tomorrow. "I don't wanna go!" he exclaimed, but the social worker just wrapped an arm around him comforting him.

The taxi stopped in front of the house. There was an eerily tense atmosphere of anticipation. An unfamiliar smell. Everything seemed so different here. It was quite a nice house though, and the garden was well-kept.

The boy opened the door and stepped out, but stayed behind the door as if he half-heartedly tried to hide behind it. He was so nervous his cheeks and fingers tingled, and his legs weakened.

And there he was. The man and the little boy from the pictures was fixing a bicycle in the yard. The man looked up and they made eye contact. Time stopped. Everybody stopped moving and the birds stopped singing.

The man was clearly as nervous as the boy. His face revealed that right away. The boy examined him thoroughly from a distance trying to judge what kind of person he was. Looking for subtle hints revealing his character and motives.

At that very instant the bright sun shone on the man. It was as if the sunlight mercilessly revealed every flaw, crack and imperfection of the man. The boy caught a brief glimpse of the true man below the facade and saw his true nature.

He was relieved at what he saw. He saw a loving, gentle man, who truly cared for his loved ones. The man had his faults like everyone else, but his affection wasn't one of them. The sight immediately vaporized all fear and doubt in his mind.

The boy stepped forward and closed the taxi door, and the man approached and started sobbing as well. Without exchanging a word they fell into a long, tight hug. The boy sensed that there was some kind of mutual understanding between them. It felt like... a bond.

The hug made the boy feel really good. He felt so wanted, so blissful. Finally he was able to rest. No more worries about strange people and homes. His journey had come to an end. He had gained a lot of hope for a happy future.

The tearful man whispered into his ear: "Welcome home, my son."