“But father,” the older son stood with his feet apart and his hands on his hips, “he smells like a pig.”
His father allowed a slight grin, “he said he’s been sleeping with them,” and then all signs of mirth disappeared, “he coveted the food the pigs were eating.”
“Serves him right! He wasted half your money! No telling what kind of life he led,” the older son showed no sign of accepting his brother back into the family.
His father let his arms hang to his side in defeat, “he too, is my son. I have no choice but to love him.”
“You barbequed a calf. The party still goes on.”
“I would do the same for you.”
“But I have stayed. I’ve worked hard to build up this farm.”
“And everything I have belongs to you,” his father leaned against a fence the oldest son had built and looked across the well-cared-for fields.
“So what do we do with him?” when the oldest son said him it sounded like he was referring to a stinking dead animal on the side of the road.
His father’s eyes sparkled with wetness that would soon drip down his cheeks, “We will give him good ground to work. We will provide tools and help when he needs. He will be my son and your brother once more.”
“It’s not quite fair,” the older brother was starting to understand, “is it?”
“No it’s not fair at all,” his father said with a smile, the kind of smile the older brother only saw when he had accomplished a worthwhile task.
“You think they saved us any of that meat?”
The father put his arm around his oldest son’s shoulders and together they found their way to the party. The oldest son found his brother and pulled him into a two-armed hug. The air pushed out of his brother’s lungs and for a few seconds he wondered if his older brother would let him take another breath.
“It’s good to have you home, brother!” the older brother said giving his younger brother a proper slap on the back.