Misha Crews

Every story deserves a happily-ever-after.

You can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here.)

Leaving was different this time. The last time she had run away in a storm of angry words, with only a guitar in her hands and a vague dream in her heart. Now, Maddie looked out at the crowd gathered on her mama’s lawn. They had come to say bon voyage. This time, she was leaving with everyone’s blessing.

Homeward Part 3

It was later in the day than she had planned to depart. Storms had swept through, bringing hail and rain and general mayhem. Everyone had crowded into the living room, joking and laughing and teasing, “Somebody sure doesn’t want you to go!”

But it was easy to see that Maddie’s heart was set, and her mind was made up, and no gods of man nor weather were going to stop her. So when the storms had passed and the roads were clear, it was time to leave.

Friends and family spilled out of the house, into the muggy air and waning light. Tears spilled out of Maddie’s eyes, down her cheeks and onto her new shirt. She would never have predicted that leaving again would be harder than coming home.

Her mother, trying to distract from her own tears, patted the roof of the pickup approvingly. “So much better than the bus,” she said.

“Yes ma’am,” Maddie agreed. This time, she was traveling in style.

The truck was a bit on the rundown side, but that was all right. It just meant that Maddie wouldn’t have to worry about dropping French fries on the floor or spilling Coke on the seats. There was plenty of room in the back for her gear, and she had staked out a place for her guitar right behind the driver’s seat. As soon as she got it back, that was where it would go.

This time, she was leaving with a purpose.

Someone opened the truck door for her and she slid into the driver’s seat. She sat there, hands on the wheel, looking out the open door at all the faces she had known while growing up, faces she had learned to love again in the months that she had been home.

“I’ll be back,” she promised. “And it won’t take me so long to get here next time, either.”

The door was closed and her favorite face grinned at her through the open window. “And I imagine your feet will be a lot less sore this time, too,” Jobe said.

“I sure hope so,” Maddie agreed. They looked at each other for a long moment, then Mama stepped forward. She handed Maddie an envelope.

Maddie held up her hands in protest. “Oh no, Ma, I can’t. I’ve got my own money now. Enough to get started, anyway.”

“It’s not money, child. It’s a list. A list that everyone standing here has contributed to. Memories of when you were growing up. It’s not poetry, it’s just plain old words. Making them into something beautiful will be up to you.”

Maddie took the envelope with shaking fingers. “You all did this for me? This is for my songs?” A sea of faces beamed at her and nodded. Maddie felt the tears rising again. “I don’t even know what to say.”

The passenger door opened and Jobe spoke. “Just say ‘thank you,’ and then let’s hit the road, already!” He leaned over and spoke to the crowd. “Time’s a-wasting, right?”

They hollered their approval. Jobe got in, closed the passenger door and put on his seatbelt. “Okay girl,” he said, “let’s get started.”

This time, she wasn’t going alone.

She leaned out the window to give her mother one last kiss, then waved to the crowd and started the truck. She didn’t dare look back as they pulled away.

The drive through town was slow and sweetly sad. Maddie had seen the place with new eyes since she’d been home, and she knew the next time she looked out at these streets and houses, they would be different still, because she would be different. No place stays the same forever, because no one stays the same forever. And that was how it was supposed to be.

She and Jobe pulled onto the highway just as the sun was setting. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” she asked him.

“Maddie, I’ve been ready for this since the day I met you. Now let’s go get your guitar back, and let’s make some dreams come true – yours and mine.” His glinting eyes were the gold of the setting sun. “Are you ready for that?”

Maddie slid her hand across the seat and entwined her fingers with his.

Oh, yes.

She was ready.


“Home is just another word for you.” – Billy Joel


It seems like the end of Maddie’s story is really the beginning, doesn’t it? It felt that way to me as I was writing it. Although I don’t have plans for a new installment, I would welcome your ideas in the comments or via my Contact page! I hope you enjoyed reading Homeward Bound. I’ll post a new short story next Tuesday, September 5.

Hugs and happy reading! ~Misha

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Homeward Part 2Maddie waited four days before going to the guitar shop. She thought that was a respectable amount of time. Not so fast that she would seem eager. Not so slow that she would appear uninterested.

Mama offered to lend her the car, but Maddie preferred to walk. Her feet knew where they were going; they were happy to be back on the streets of her home town. Her heart, on the other hand, longed to roam, and her fingers itched to play.

She found the shop, right where it had always been. A guitar-shaped cutout hung over the sidewalk, and the words “Buy, Sell, Trade,” danced in fading colors across the window. The building’s paint was starting to show some wear, but that was okay. Maddie was showing a little wear, herself.

She took a breath, grasped the doorknob and tried to turn it. It wouldn’t budge. Locked.

She was just about to knock when she heard a familiar voice behind her.

“Wow,” the voice said. “I’d heard you were back in town.”

Maddie rotated, a smile already breaking out on her face. “Hi Jobe.”

He looked completely the same, and entirely different. His hair was still dark and curly. His eyes still glistened gold under straight brows. His mouth still quirked in a sideways grin. This was her favorite face, on her favorite person. She wanted to hug him, but instead she said, “The old man hasn’t fired you yet?”

“Nope.” Jobe shook his head. “He has a soft spot for me. Says I’ll have a job at this place until I die or find something better.” He shifted his weight to the other foot. “But I don’t know. What could be better than working here?”

“‘There will always be a job for Jobe,'” she quoted.

“That’s right.”

He tilted his head in the same way he had done since they were kids. Maddie’s heart wanted to skip a beat, but she grasped it firmly and held on tight. Once upon a time, people had thought that she and Jobe might get married. But real life doesn’t unfold like a fairy tale, and Maddie didn’t want to let herself forget that.

Jobe was holding a tray with two coffee cups. Maddie nodded toward it. “Who’s the second coffee for? You got a girl in there? You know that the old man wouldn’t like that.”

Jobe just smiled, refusing to take the bait. His golden eyes crinkled. He asked, “You in need of some strings?”

“In need of some salvation,” Maddie said. “As in, a job.” She heard the sadness in her voice and knew he would understand.

His face grew somber. “What happened to it?” The guitar.

“It was worth exactly the price of a bus ticket home,” Maddie said.

Jobe looked stricken. Maddie rushed to say, “I’m getting it back. That’s why I need the job.”

“A job from Jobe.” He seemed to shake himself. “Well, come on inside and let’s talk about it. There might be something I can do.”

Jobe started toward the door, but Maddie hesitated. Once some thresholds had been crossed, it was almost impossible to go back.

“I don’t know.” She eyed the coffee cups. “Who’s the other cup for?”

As he slid the key into the lock, his eyes smiled at her. “Maybe it’s for you. Maybe I’ve bought a second coffee every day since I heard you were home, just in case you showed up here.”

Maddie’s heart wanted to skip again, and this time she let it. “Is that true?”

“One way to find out.” He turned the knob and pushed the door open, holding it for her. Then he looked back.

“So,” he said. “You coming in?”

♥ ♥♥

“Home is where the heart is.” – Proverb

♥ ♥♥

Thank you so much for reading part two of Homeward Bound! Part three will be posted next Monday. (To read part one, click here.) If you’re enjoying the story, I hope you’ll leave a comment below! And you might want to check out my novel Homesong, available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo. Thanks again for reading! See you next week!

Hugs and happy reading! ~Misha


Foreword: We live in an amazing world. Every day I look around and am inspired by the beauty of my surroundings. And recently it occurred to me: why not put that inspiration to good use? So here is a story in three parts. Each part was inspired by a photograph that I took. I hope you enjoy it!

Homeward Part 1Homeward Bound, Part 1

Maddie paused at the railroad tracks, giving her feet a rest. It had been a three-mile walk from the bus station to where she now stood. Her blisters had felt every step. And there was still half a mile to go.

She looked east, toward the family homestead which sat large and white and as eternal as the mountain range which slumbered behind it.

The last time Maddie had seen this view, she had been looking over her shoulder as she walked away. Her head had been high, her shoulders straight. She had been so sure she would make her mark on this sad and weary world. And in a way, she had done just that. But the world had marked her, too.

Maddie licked her lips, tasting salt. She pulled the old kerchief from around her neck and wiped her face. Time to get moving. She bent down automatically to pick up her guitar, then straightened again when she realized it wasn’t there.

How long would she keep feeling for that guitar, like an amputee feeling for a lost limb?

Setting her jaw, she adjusted her backpack, which now contained only a few pairs of dirty underwear and a sheaf of pages with song lyrics sprawled across them. Though her body ached with exhaustion, and her heart ached with loss, she started forward.

At least she was still on her own two feet. Though the years had been hard, there had been moments of pure gold. And she had remained honest, from the moment she had left home to now, when her weary feet ascended the back porch steps.

Maddie had thought it would be the hardest thing she ever did to raise her hand and knock on the kitchen’s screen door. But it turned out she didn’t have to. As she peered through the wire mesh she became aware of a figure moving around inside. Dim and shadowy, hard to see, but a figure she would know anywhere. Maddie swallowed and spoke hesitantly. “Mama?”

The figure stopped, rotated slowly, and met Maddie’s eyes through the mesh of the screen door.

“So, you’re back,” Mama said.

“Yes, ma’am.” The words were hard to speak.

Her mother came forward slowly, feet bare and slapping against the kitchen tiles. “You must be hungry.”

“Yes, ma’am,” Maddie said again.

Mama nodded. “Staying long?”

Maddie felt her backbone prickle. She shook her head slowly. “No ma’am.”

They looked at each other through the screen, parent and child, child and parent. She felt her mother’s eyes take her in, evaluate her. They saw the guitar which wasn’t there. They saw the months of hard work, the tears and the triumphs, and the fact that Maddie wasn’t done trying yet. They saw everything.

Mama pushed open the door. She hesitated for a moment, then reached out for her daughter and held her tightly.

“Welcome home.”


“Home is the place where, when you have to go there, They have to take you in.” – Robert Frost


Thank you for reading the first part of Maddie’s story. It will be continued next week! If you enjoyed this story, you might like to check out my novel, Homesong, which is available on Kindle, Nook and Kobo. Either way, I hope you’ll leave a comment below and let me know what you thought of Homeward Bound, Part 1. Thank you and much love, Misha.

Read Part 2 on August 21.
Read Part 3 on August 28.


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