She hit the brakes when she got to the place where the cul de sac should have been. Heart racing, she looked left and right at the new side streets that had been built in the intervening years. Where was their old house? Where was Tommy's house?
It used to be right there, where Sinclair Avenue had appeared, with eight houses on the right, nine on the left, and what looked like room for half a dozen more.
Natalie hadn't thought about Tommy and the house on Lincoln in years. At least, not intentionally. Lately, she had been noticing a lot of small human interest stories dealing with handicapped people, especially those in wheelchairs. That made it kind of hard not to think about the boy she had adored and wonder how he was doing, condemned to life in a wheelchair. While she sat there, staring at the street, her eyes filled with tears and for a moment she could see once again the big, friendly house almost directly across the street from hers. There had been a time when she and her brothers had been able to go in and out as if they were family.
"Stop it," she said through clenched teeth, took a deep breath, and turned left, cranking the wheel as tight as she could. No way was she going to drive where the Donnelly house used to be.Natalie had herself completely under control by the time she got out of the old neighborhood and found her way to the newer development on the other side of town. She had seen enough pictures of her parents' new home, she recognized it from halfway down the block. Remembering how excited her mother had been over the space, the recent updates that meant she didn't have to decorate much, and the chance to reconnect with old friends helped Natalie get rid of the last of what she called the "oogies" over returning to Owens Forge.