I'm living in Pittsburg again and driving home from class on Dukes Chapel Road. I'm almost to the house, and as I'm pulling into the driveway, I can see that a note has been stuck to the front door. I step onto the porch, and upon approaching the door, I discover that it's not just one note, but several. A stack of old, familiar love notes that I'd written to someone once, and had long since forgotten about.
I pull them off of the door and go inside. As I'm flipping through them, my heart starts to thump in my chest as I realize that the reverse sides of all the notes have new writing on them. The handwriting is unfamiliar though, and as I try to focus on it, it gets blurry and I can't read it.
For a moment I'm confused by the unfamiliar handwriting, and I can't remember who it was that should be making my heart go pitter-patter like this. At first I think that it's Erica, since I'm at the old house on Dukes Chapel Road, but then I realize that over twenty years have gone since then.
I pass by the door to my bedroom several times as I'm puttering about the house, squinting at the old notes with the new handwriting. Finally I look up to see that my bedroom door is open just a crack, and that a tall sliver of yellow light is shining where the edge of the door meets the frame. I'm suddenly very afraid to open that door, because I know that I didn't leave the light on, and I'm sure that I had closed it earlier.
Then the door opens, and Leah is standing there. She's dressed in the same clothes that she was wearing when I laid eyes on her for the first time... a brown, floor length skirt decorated with flowers and paisleys and a thin, dark green button up sweater with long sleeves and a pair of sandal shoes, with her hair pulled back into a kind of bunched up pony tail.
The surprise and the sudden realization feels like a solid blow to my midsection, and I fall backwards and hit the wooden floor, hard. As I'm sitting there on my ass, stunned, I look up and I can see Leah's silhouetted form standing in the doorway, surrounded by a nimbus of light emanating from the room behind her. I raise my forearm in an attempt to shield my eyes from the bright, disorienting glare.
Then she takes a step toward me and leans forward, effectively blocking the light, and I can see her face clearly as she smiles and reaches for my hand to help me to my feet.