Simon Paxter's house
The last time he’d walked off that porch and across the dusty yard he was seventeen and was going to war. He kept walking out to the road and on down the highway and caught a bus to Shelby. It was a long time before he could no longer hear his mother crying and his father cussing. Their alto and bass blend trailed after him for days as he was processed into the army and only grew fainter as his soldier-self grew louder.
Simon opened the car door and stepped out into the yard. He closed the door behind him, took a couple of steps and then stopped, put his hands in his pockets and looked slowly to the left out across a long abandoned cotton field, and then to the right, down through the bushy branches of young oaks along an unattended fence row.
He continued walking to the house; the only sound was his shoes crunching against the sand. When he reached the first step, he paused, noticing the stillness. He had waited for this moment, had thought about this moment, and now wanted to make it last. He stood in front of the worn plank steps and heard northing. There was no breeze, no sound. He strained to try to hear a sound, but there was none. The silence made real the absence of life, and that’s what he’d returned for.