Just the smell of the potatoes in the old, blackened, potato baker on the stove made him happy. He hadn’t had a baked potato that smelled like that in years.
And it was the little things, like a baked potato, that could make Bryce happy. Not that his life was so bad, but it wasn’t all that good either, On a scale of one to ten his was a five – neither good nor bad, just "medium".
But to Bryce medium seemed hardly enough; hardly even adequate.
Bryce dreamed. He didn’t know what the dreams really meant nor did he envision their fulfillment which left him in a rather sorry state of not knowing who or what he wanted to do with his life. The only thing he knew for certain was that he’d felt this way since he was seven. And now, at twenty-three, he still floundered like a boat tied in a marine slip during a hurricane, bouncing from side to side against the bumpers.
He’d been traveling around the country, backpacking, hitching rides whenever possible, or simply walking along the perimeter of whatever road happened in his path.
When he got to a town he’d stop long enough to eat and get refreshed, but only if he met someone interesting or there seemed something of special interest would he stay for much longer.
He’d met a lot of nice people along the way and, being an outgoing person and good conversationalist, Bryce found himself invited to dinner or to simply have a chat in someone or others’ house. Bryce periodically took the people up on their offer, but not often. He didn’t want to be a bother and felt that the offer was made without real meaning. Better, he felt, to have a few good minutes than an awkward couple of hours.
So he trudged on; happy in his quest to see the country.
Eventually he made it – full circle. Back at his parents’ home which, officially, was his home since he had no other permanent address.
His parents had greeted him with reserved reassurance of his welcome home and his mother set an extra place at the table. Not much more.
His mother wasn’t much of a cook so he never expected much when it came to dinner.
Tonight seemed different though. Tonight there was the smell of baked potatoes.
Tonight he felt at home.