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Children's Stories
by Margo Fallis
Papa's Back

Serafina stood at the window, gazing out at the mountains. “I wonder when Papa is coming home. He promised me a present, something I'd love. Maybe he'll bring me a new comb for my hair, or a box of fine chocolates from Belgium. Hurry home, Papa.”

All day long Serafina waited by the window. When the sun went down her mama came to the door and knocked. “Serafina, you must come and have supper. I made roasted chicken with tomatoes and olives and rice, your favorite.”

Serafina opened the door. “That does sound delicious, Mama.” She went down to the kitchen to eat. The two of them sat quietly. Flickering candles cast shadows on the wall. “See how the shadows dance, Mama.”

Mama wiped her mouth and went to the shelf. She pulled a pie off and carried it to the table. “I made some blueberry pie, Serafina. Would you like some? I've got some fresh cream to pour on top.”

Serafina cried. “Mama, I miss Papa. He loves blueberry pie. Let's keep it until he comes home.”

“All right, Serafina. If that's what you want. I miss your Papa too. He will be home in the morning.” Mama blew out the candles and took her daughter up to her bedroom. “Sleep well. When you wake up, your papa should be home.”

Serafina had a hard time getting to sleep, but eventually she dozed off. Crowing roosters woke her in the morning. She threw the blankets off and ran to the window. The sun was creeping over the horizon and it's gentle rays warmed her face. “It's morning. Papa will be home.” She put on her prettiest dress and brushed her hair back off her face. “Now I am ready to see Papa.”

Running down the stairs, she dashed into the kitchen. Mama and Papa sat together, holding hands and sipping tea. “Papa!” She ran into his arms.

“My beautiful Serafina. It's good to be home with your mama and you. I brought you a present,” Papa said. He pulled two boxes out from behind him.

“That looks like two boxes, Papa, not one. You brought me two presents?” She threw her arms around his neck. Sitting down, she opened one of the boxes. “Oh Papa, you brought me a new comb for my hair. Thank you.” She kissed him on the cheek. She giggled as she unwrapped the second present. “A box of chocolates from Belgium! I knew you'd bring me some. Thank you, Papa.”

Mama opened a box and showed Serafina the pearl necklace Papa had brought home for her. “Isn't it pretty, Serafina.”

Serafina smiled. “I've got a good idea. Let's have blueberry pie for breakfast. Mama and I were going to eat it last night, but we wanted to wait until you were home. Mama has some fresh cream to pour on top.”

Papa laughed. “That would be wonderful.”

Mama cut each of them a big slice of pie. She poured cream on each piece, smothering it with its thickness. When they finished eating, Serafina ran to her room to put her presents away and then went back to the kitchen. “I'm glad you're home, Papa. Don't leave Mama and me again. We miss you.”

“I miss you both too,” Papa said, wrapping his arms around them and pulling them closer.

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