Last December, I went to visit my parents for the holidays. I brought my laptop, and worked on the first draft of Grandson of a Ghost whenever I got free time. One evening, I volunteered to search for decorations in the basement so we could get what we needed to put up the Christmas tree. I moved boxes around and uncovered the original box — used for storage all these years — for the horse and covered wagon played with by Scott and Pamela near the end of Chapter Two. It was such a surreal moment, I had to take a photo, and then sit and reflect for a while. Writing that scene had stirred up horrible feelings. And then from nowhere, I stumbled on the box. The physical reminder of pain from decades ago was at once unsettling and validating: hazy recollections of trauma mixed with the unequivocal reality that so much time had passed. Relationships had evolved. I was safe. Not a little boy. Life was better.
I unpacked the decorations and carried them upstairs, but left the box in the basement.