It’s morning in the Puget Sound and I’m 8 years old. I was a student at Wolfe Elementary School. A Wolfle Wolf. My dad was a well driller, my mom was working for the school district and attending college seeking a degree. My parents didn’t want me to be home alone-normally my older brother was there to make sure I made it to the bus, but this was my brother’s first year in middle school, and his bus came an hour earlier than the one for the elementary students. So I would be dropped off at the Brockman’s.
My dad would drop me off. I’d drift back to sleep as his dented, faded, struggling old Ford truck rattled me the mile down the road to the Brockman’s house. This is when he would stir me-and I would open my eyes..a gentle blow, I would wake up to a beautiful sunrise over the Sound. And then he would say “Good-bye” and I would be awake. Jostled from comfort. No longer groggy. I’d be alert and aware. And I would realize where I was…
The Brockman’s lived on a beautiful piece of property, a high bank waterfront overlooking the Puget Sound, with the horizon framing the blue sky with the Cascade Mountain range, and to the right, on the horizon, the Seattle Skyline being hovered over by Mount Rainier that stood like a sentinel behind it.
I would walk up to their house, a small blue cabin, with French doors. And I’d always hesitate when I got there, because I could see down the hallway, and I could see the doorknob through the windowed door…
I remember learning to focus on it, before I welcomed myself inside.
My gut would scream.
I knew inside were English muffins, and Leanne. I knew inside was a television set that would play Scooby Doo on one of the five channels that came in. I knew that I was supposed to go inside. But my stomach imploded, standing outside those glass doors, the lilac bush.
I tried to be quiet. I just wanted to sit before the bus came. But I always seemed to announce myself. I wouldn’t be able to hear it, but I could see it, the doorknob of Chuck’s bedroom, slowly, quietly twisting. Quiet so as not to wake his wife up. And I would watch it turn. And I wouldn’t move. And my stomach would turn with it.
And he would crawl out like a predator, slink through through the slim path he carved himself through the doorway. And then I would watch his hand, on that golden doorknob, slowly turn the handle so that the latch would make no noise. And then slowly turn it into place.
And then he would and face me-that frightening hungry smirk on his face.