After cake,  we had the freedom to do whatever we wanted.  We could stay inside and play games or go outside and run around getting grass stains on our pants.

I stayed inside exploring the house. The big yellow kitchen with the old fashioned faucets, the window above the sink looking out to the grassy area where they had their parties.  A dark space below the steps behind a door I thought lead to nowhere.

I had to pee before I went outside so I asked June if I could use the bathroom.  The one downstairs was busy.  She told me where the other bathroom was upstairs.

I creaked up the stairs to the landing, turned right and rose up the steps to the second floor.

I stood at the top of the steps.  I can still see clear as a bell both ends of the hallway.

To my left just past the top of the stairs the bathroom door opened to black and white tiles, green walls, a pedestal sink and an old cast iron tub with curled feet.

I crept softly to the right toward two doors next to each other along the left wall,  half way to the end.

One of the doors was open.  I looked inside.  A nice big bedroom with a high ceiling.  A good sized window looking down at the sidewalk.  The same sidewalk that June and my dad walked on around the block that night.  The night that it all began.

I continued walking to the bedroom at the end of the hall where I stared at gray light slicing through the three dormer windows.  The light seemed to anchor itself onto the wood floor casting a dreary pall throughout the room except in the corners where what light there was could not penetrate the dark gloom of that third bedroom where later I was to learn that Jim had blown his head off with a shotgun.