In the spring of 2002, my sister Alyssa and I left college behind for a weekend to visit our parents. After driving two hours to reach their home, we expected embraces, but encountered an empty house instead. We received only aloof acknowledgements from their Birman cats, Ellie and Vignoles.
Upon searching the house for occupants, we came upon a loaf of fresh banana bread—still steaming—in a pan on the range.
“Where are Mom and Dad?” Alyssa asked. “This banana bread’s still hot. Mom couldn’t have pulled it out of the oven more than five minutes ago. Why aren’t they here?”
“You’re right,” I said. “This is weird.” Of course, as the children of a Southern Baptist minister, we probably had a different definition of weird than most people.
We surveyed the living room and saw Dad’s moccasins lying on the living room floor. Mom’s blue jeans hung, faded and folded, over the arm of her recliner in resignation. The torsion pendulum on the anniversary clock swiveled back and forth like a restless child in a desk chair. The house, despite being empty, felt alive—the furnace purring, the lamps illuminating the living room.
“M-m-m-m-maybe Mom and Dad were…raptured,” Alyssa stuttered.