by John Wilson
Walking slowly up the familiar staircase, I silently counted the steps like I had so many times before as a child. The eighth step still creaked and I smiled at that. As I reached the top of the landing, the warm light of the old hallway lamps enveloped me in their soft glow. Kate, already upstairs and lost in thought, drifted out of her old bedroom. Seeing me she sent a sad knowing smile my way, her face accented by the twin lamps.
We wandered through the empty farmhouse that late afternoon just as the day was ending and dusk began its short shadowy work. We paused, touched things and privately watched memories play short, long ago scenes in our minds. Occasionally we quietly looked and smiled at each other, recalling the same things. We shared and smiled, laughed and cried.
Our parents were now both gone, mother joining father and this was our final walk through before auction day. We had worked for days deciding what to keep, and work it was. So much we wanted to keep, so much we cherished.
We’d come back for one last thing. The two glass lamps. They had guided us to the safety of each others rooms after bad dreams, provided light during bad storms with no electricity, beckoned to us while driving home late at night. They had lighted our young lives. Night having fallen, we finally left our safe harbor for the last time, each with a beacon in hand.