Being back in my childhood home is always an odd feeling. "Childhood home" isn't exactly right. I was nearly 12 when we moved into this house, so I guess this is more of my teen-age home. Still, much of my "coming of age" years happened here. It's the flashbacks that always get me. I had one today, just standing by the steps that go to the upstairs. Duncan was standing on the fourth brown-carpeted stair, and he reached out to hug my mother good-night. I was hit then with the memory of those brown stairs. That staircase faces the front door, and it seems like I used to always be sitting on the stairs, waiting for someone. I'd be all dressed and ready to go out, looking for someone's headlights to pull in the driveway. For just a second I remembered that amazing sense of anticipation that went with any night out. When you're 16 or 17 or 18, everything is an adventure. Anything might happen on any night. You might meet up with anyone; you never know who will be at what party or what the night holds.
The ghosts of those years tend to hover quietly while I'm here. Sometimes I'll step on a certain rock and remember a night of breaking up, or hear pebbles crunching on the driveway and remember a hundred nights, sitting on the brown steps, waiting.