My dad's footsteps. I woke to the sound of them every morning for years, sometime just before six. Right at the crack of dawn. I could hear them pass outside the bedroom my brother and I shared as he got ready for work.
My dad was a high school teacher. He worked in one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the state. And even though many of his students came from families of little means, he always wore his Sunday-best shoes to class. It was the tapping of those hard-soled shoes against the brick-tile flooring in the hallway that produced the heavy steps I heard at the start of each day.
There was something about the sound of those footsteps. They meant something to me. They represented the qualities in my dad that I most admired: responsibility, discipline, respect.