He cruised old familiars. This is where he lived from sixth to nine grade – only four years? But that was in child years when time stretched for him. Aging math is often astonishing. In this case, fifty-one ellipses around the sun were done since he’d last lived in the red brick ranch house with the single car garage. It was a laughingly small place to the mind of these times but had worked for a family of two adults and five children. Yes, bedrooms were shared. One bathroom provided service for all. But there was also the basement, converted into a laundry room and family room. That gave a little more space.
Seeing streets and houses, he plugged in who lived where, wondering where each now lived, or if they lived. Oddly, houses remained almost identical to what lived in memory. It felt the same. If cars weren’t parked in the driveway, it could be the same year that he last lived there; no other differences marked the elapsed time. Temptation seeped in to park and walk up to a door, knock, see if a friend was available. “Hi, is Curt home?” Or Bruce. Rick. John. Chuck. Their remembered faces light up like a game in his mind.
Then he notices that the large old oak where he and Vicky first kissed was gone. With that seen, he knew, time to drive away. Home was somewhere else.