The Rapid Descent

That Saturday was a bright one.
The sun seemed to shine on
despite the oppressive silence
that currently threatened to
overwhelm the house.

He stood on the landing,
elbows on the rail,
while his eyes travelled to the front door.

This house was just another house;
it had walls and doors and windows.
It looked like the Summer's house,
Buffy and Dawn walking through the
kitchen while Angel peered in through the
blinds.
That's one of the reasons he loved it so.
His room was located on the second floor,
just to the right at the landing
and into the dappled sunlight
of prebubescence.
His room, only accessible through the stairs
(or the window via the oak tree,
and trust him, he tried)
smelled like him (he liked Givenchy,
lavender, and vanilla.
Sometimes, his girlfriends would wear
Moonlight Path, a fragrance that
was discontinued,
but some idolatrous girls still clung to their
bottles of lotion and bodywash),
looked like him (the shutters pulled down but open,
the walls a color of soul),
sounded like him (Alexi Murdoch, Damien Rice,
Donovan Frankenreiter, M83,
and sometimes, if he's feeling cheeky,
Kingdom of Sorrow, but mainly to drive his mother and
father crazy).
And now, on this wooden precipice,
it pined for him, reaching out with the
door that rarely closed but always locked.
There was another room down the hall
that he thought would be a great room for a baby brother.
His parents didn't bother with that, though.
They couldn't be bothered with that.

The top step seemed so far away,
as far away as his mother's voice telling him to snap
out of his dallianced daydream
and meet the movers.
Movers and movies,
they always pass by, revealing more of a person's
life than makes them comfortable.

The top step squeaked, like it always did,
when he put his weight on it.
Sometimes, he would sneak out and purposefully
step down to the second step.
But, over the years, that too has developed
a voice from being used too often as a footfall.
He thinks about how funny it is that the order of
the steps change by the direction you approach them.
Down, it's one two three.
Up, it's one two three.
Perhaps, today, he would start at 17.

There were 17 steps.
17. Odd number.

The railing had been worn smooth,
little reminders that the fingers here
raised the house as well.
They all aged together.

And as he took the last step to the floor,
he had lived every one of those years again.

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