It’s a quiet looking house. In the years since I last saw it, someone painted it taupe and cream. It’s not a large house, not really. Not big enough to contain all the things I put inside it. I remember the small rooms, including the cramped garage. The backyard slopes down into a lake. An alligator lived in that lake. The alligator was small, but like everything else, it seemed much larger then.
Since I lived there, I have gone so far. It’s been almost thirty years since the last time I ran out of this house. I still have that scar, a faded leech on my left arm.
I’m a stranger to the nine year-old who lived there. I’ve lived three of his lifetimes since I was him. But still, seeing that house in a flash of a moment as I drive by, I know him again. I wonder what it’s like to live there now. Do they hear the echoes of shouting? Are they startled by the sounds of shattered glass? I hope not. Part of me wants to stop and pay my respects to the ghosts of who we were. But what would I say if the current owner came outside? How do you tell someone you were kidnapped from their house?
I drive by, and I shake it off. Those ghosts are faded, tattered things, packed away on a high shelf, behind so many bright, enduring things. But sometimes I can still feel them, spooking me back.