I haven’t returned to Tecumseh, Michigan since. That hydrant and its sour-sick memories still haunt me: the night 16-year-old me staggered home from partying and crossed the abandoned tracks.
The sudden rush of a steam engine. The scream of a whistle. Hot, sooty wind.
I cowered behind the hydrant—felt it suddenly twist and grasp at me with steely arms. All I could do was scream.
The police found me, jeans wet and hysterical. No one believed me. “Been drinking?” they asked.
I became “that kid”, the one who pissed himself over ghosts.
Sometimes all you can do is leave.