I was in the middle of a different post, but I feel I should pause and reflect.
This morning, before it started to rain and thunder, and when the hot sun was already on the rise, I went out for a brief run. I ran past the house where we lived for less than a year when we first arrived. The people who live there now have an enormous boat that they park in the carport that took up so much of the yard. They would have seen that as tremendous asset, whereas we worked around it. We set up our grill under it. The whole thing was slightly graded. We wondered how long it would take and much it would cost to tear up the concrete.
We came back from house hunting, mentally exhausted from all the imagining and trying to clear our heads of the chemical smell of all the scented candles people left burning to cover dog smell. “Maybe we should just stay here,” we’d say, rousing our weary brains to reconfigure the house in our minds’ eyes as our real home. “Maybe.”
Those first months were just a blur of getting bearings.
It was dark and stormy when we arrived from London, but the landlord had left the door open for us. He had set up the mattress we had ordered and bought us a cat box and put litter in it. There was no drama. It was as arranged. Safe, different, strange. Home. Sort of.
I remember opening the sliding door into the inky backyard. “We have outside space.”
The next door neighbor had cancer. She had a carer whose son was called Psalm and a vegetable garden. We saw hummingbirds for the first time. They handed okra, cucumbers and tomatoes over the fence and we returned the containers with cookies.
I never knew where I was driving. My husband navigated, go left, go right, but it took a long time for me to knit it together. I walked to work. We had one car. If I needed to go somewhere during the day, I walked home and got the car. That was three years ago and it seems much longer than that.
At night, we liked that we could hear the trains. It sounded American.
I still like to hear the trains. I noticed the yellow signboard outside of one of the shops on the arterial road had strange messages that didn’t seem to advance the cause of the business it represented. But I was too busy and too confused to think about it.
A year later we had moved into the house we live in now. We got a flyer for the block party. We made friends. I started the blog.
I have friends.
I have started writing again.
I learned how to play tennis. I have teammates.
I have started noticing the signs on the yellow billboard.