I have to say I was more than excited to be back to my old stomping grounds. It was long overdue. The moment I hit the edge of town, saw the name Merryville on the sign, I couldn’t help the wide grin or yelp of satisfaction I gave that I returned. Now I would find out what was so bothersome that it wanted me here.
This place had been home since I’d been ten years old. My parents lost everything in a flood. They lived by the river for most of their married life. Due to circumstances beyond their control, they were forced to move in with my grandparents until the insurance money came in and they could buy what they could afford.
My parents were two of the most wonderful people you’d ever want to meet. Loving. Kind. Happy. I was blessed to have them. It was hard for me to imagine them any other way.
Even through the hard times when they lost everything they owned due to the river overflowing its banks—their home, their belongings, all the cherished photos of loved ones, keepsakes handed down from mothers to daughters, fathers to sons—all swept away by a raging river, they were still happy and held no resentment against Mother Nature for taking away their life as they knew it.
Eventually things worked out, though. My parents found a house at the end of a dirt road and each of us adjusted to whatever change it brought.
The house my parents bought had an attic which became my favorite place to search. There were boxes and crates of books and trinkets and a multitude of all manner of things to pass my time that had been left by former owners.
After we moved in and I discovered the vast knowledge it held, I volunteered to clean it out and little by little I’d transfer those treasures I found to a shed in the back of the house which I commandeered for my own private place. I even put a Keep Out sign on the door.
One day when I was about fourteen, I was taking some books to our local library to donate. These were older history books that I wasn’t interested in and felt they would be put to better use there where anyone interested in such things could check them out.
It was there I fell head over heels with a boy. His name was Reese Holden. One look and my heart fluttered. My pulse pounded. I felt hot all over. Weak in the knees. Light-headed. Dry mouth. Couldn’t catch my breath.
Among other things and more.
That day everything changed.