As he walked up the stairs he saw more pictures of the children he saw in the picture frame on the hutch in frames of bronze lining the walls. Most of the pictures were staged in a studio depicting the kids at different ages as they grew up. A few other shots that lined the walls showed the kids at play in a yard or by a creak. Here there was a picture of one of the boys learning to ride a bicycle as the father held on to the back of the seat. There a picture hung showing the older kid posing in a middle school football uniform.
The young man felt as though he should be able to recall the boys’ names, but nothing was coming to mind. A sense of nostalgia creeped over him as he walked through the house, but he couldn’t figure out where the sense came from. Everything seemed just where it should be as if he would have put it here if he lived here. Had he lived there?
He looked around the second floor of the house. Off to the left near the stairs and before the first bedroom stood a small cabinet with a couple of drawers. The young man walked up to the cabinet and opened up the top drawer. Inside he found various cards that celebrated various holidays and birthdays for the family members.
One of the cards read, “George, Dorothy, Ronny, and Jimmy, We hope you have a very merry Christmas and the happiest of New Years! Love Andrew and Wendy” From this card he determined that the patriarch of the family must be George, and his wife was Dorothy, the mother of the children who were Ronny and Jimmy. As he dug through the cards and looked at a few more his suspicions were confirmed with a few anniversary cards written from George to Dorothy and from Dorothy to George. Out of curiosity, he pulled all of the anniversary cards out of the drawer and made two stacks: one stack comprised solely of the cards addressed to George and another of the ones solely addressed to Dorothy. After he was sure he had all of the anniversary cards, he counted each stack. When he was done, each stack had fifteen cards in them, so he felt confident in saying that the couple had been married for fifteen years.
He pulled out the birthday cards for Ronny and Jimmy, some of which were addressed to Ronald and James, and isolated the ones that were signed, “Love Mom and Dad.” For their number of birthday cards he came up with nine for Ronny and two for Jimmy. He went through the drawer again, but realized that they probably didn’t get cards for the kids until they were old enough to appreciate them. Especially considering they both looked a bit older than nine and two.
He took all of the cards and placed them back in the drawer. For a moment, he thought about going further down the hall but he didn’t know exactly how long he had here so he decided to explore the upstairs a little more.
Looking over the layout of the upstairs there were four doors leading to rooms, two on either wall to his left or right, and across the hall was a window that stood partially propped open. He came to the first door on his right and looked in. This was obviously the boys’ room. Hanging from middle of the ceiling was a complete replica of the solar system. On the far wall just above the bed was a poster of the band The Beatles, and hanging over the bed closest to the door was a poster of the band The Rolling Stones. Above the head of each bed were the names of each boy carved in stained wood. James slept in the far bed while Ronald slept in the bed closest to the door.
From the look of the room, the young man assumed that James was the younger of the two. James’ side of the room was littered with toys that an older boy most likely wouldn’t be interested in from a Major Matt Mason doll and matching Jane Apollo to assorted GI Joes and the Batman and Robin who assisted them with their matchbox cars. The man questioned if the parents would scold young James when they saw the shape of his side of the room. The thought made the young man laugh a little to himself.