by Rich Robles
Shortly after our wedding, my pregnant wife and I purchased our first home. It was an old home, built in 1890, but had many updates. We loved that it has character, and did our best to make it our home. It had plenty of room, a good size lot, and was set in a great neighborhood.
In the twelve years we lived there, we had many strange situations happen that we could not explain. Maybe the events were just coincidences, but we experienced everything from strange noises, to sudden cold flashes, to doors slamming. Although these things did get my blood pumping from time to time, especially at times when I was alone, I just dismissed them as…well, nothing.
Now that my son is off to college and my wife and I are since divorced, I sometimes take a detour to the city to pass by our old house. For memory's sake, maybe once a month or so, I would check out the old neighborhood. It reminds me of a better life, times when my wife and I were on better terms. Days of coaching my son’s baseball team in the spring, and building snowmen on the front lawn at Christmas time. It was something that I liked to do to keep those memories fresh.
The old house has since not been kept up as well as when we lived there. The deck that my brother and I had built years before was now dark colored and rotting. The stairs to the front porch where I would enjoy my iced tea after mowing the lawn were now crooked and tattered. The shutters were discolored, and the siding had weathered many storms. Although the exterior looked gruff, the memories as intended were fresh in my mind.
Each time I would drive through the neighborhood, there were fewer children than I remembered in the neighborhood, almost ten years earlier. Old broken cars lined the street, many of them with flat tires or missing parts. As sad as it made me to see the neighborhood degrade, it always put a smile on my face to see the woman that now lived in our old house. An elderly woman which I had never met, but always greeted me with a friendly wave from her front porch from which she sat. One day, I agreed silently to stop and introduce myself on my next pass.
About a month later, I drove passed the same cars on the street that led to the old house. I slowed to greet the woman, but to my surprise, she was not on the porch. I stopped at the curb and got out of my car. After a few knocks at the door, I figured there was no one home. Upon returning to my vehicle a neighbor spoke, “Can I help you?” said an elderly man with a familiar face. “Oh Mister Kent, I haven’t seen you since we moved out.” We shook hands and made small talk about family, and changes in the neighborhood.
“So what brings you back here?” He asked. “I wanted to meet the elderly woman that lives here now. She has been waving to me as I pass for the last nine years or so since we moved out. It is strange that this is the first time she isn’t out on the porch.”
“That is strange.” He said looking at the house, and then back at me, “There hasn’t been anyone living here since you moved out.”