Cemetery Street (Chapter 2, page 1 of 14)

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Chapter 2

(June 1985) I think I'm in love. The moving truck had barely pulled away when there was a knock on the front door. Scrambling over scattered boxes and furniture I rushed to greet our first visitor.

"Hi, my name is Shannie,(Shane-ie)" she said from under a mass of billowing blonde hair. Her flaxen strands tumbled like clouds on a blustery day.

"Hi," I said looking into her perky face, deep set eyes contrasted slightly with a thin, sharp nose and high, wide cheeks.

"I heard that there was a new kid moving in today and I wanted to introduce myself." She smiled, "What's your name?"

"Ugh, James," I said.

"Nice to meet you Ugh James." Her green eyes sparkled.

"No, it's just James."

"Okay, that's different. Hi Just James, you want to come out? I can give you a tour of the neighborhood."

"Let me ask," I said. Still staring at her, I yelled, "Dad can I go outside?" She held my gaze.

"Have you finished your room?" he asked.

"Ah, yeah I guess," I said.

"What do you mean you guess?"

"It looks like you're busy. Anywho, I'm your neighbor." She motioned to the only house between the graveyard and ours. "I'll try back later."

"Get upstairs and finish your room. NOW!" father yelled.

"Nice meeting you Just James, talk to you later." she smiled, turned a around and skipped towards her house.

"It's James," I called after her, "Just James," "You're ridiculous Just James," she laughed. As she ran a comb fell out of her back pocket. I ran up the stairs and looked out the side room window in time to watch her float through the single row of trees that separated her backyard from the cemetery.

"Mom!" I yelled. "I changed my mind, I want the side room."

My parents were too tired to care. My sudden change of heart was surprising because the view from the side room was dominated by a graveyard. It was the genesis of my protests. I was worried sick about having more dead neighbors than living.

Our new house was a hundred-year-old brick elephant with high ceilings and a gabled roof. My father called it a Dutch Colonial. Its floors were old and cranky, whining whenever someone walked across them. There were four rooms on each of the two floors. The first floor held an eat-in kitchen, dinning room, and two sitting rooms. The four oversized rooms divided the floor into quadrants, each room opening into the next room. On rainy days the first floor made a great indoor track - I won many imaginary gold metals circling that oval. Upstairs was a master, two small bedrooms and a bathroom.

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