You Have To Read In Order To Write

“Just put a for-sale-by-owner sign in the yard and see what response you get,” my sister said on a recent night out. My breath caught as I imagined it. I am not ready to move, but I am so ready to move.

What I want is an old house with coved ceilings and plaster walls, built-in bookshelves in the most unlikely places, and the sense of community that comes with living in Huntington Woods. Good public schools and a library we can walk to. Friends we know and others we don’t walking along the copious sidewalks and the many trees raining down their leaves come fall.

My best friend Katie is also looking to move. And she also is conflicted. In the aftermath of my divorce, with the new plasma hi-def TV staring me down every night, I had forgotten how beautiful it is to read the written word.

Katie sent me a text-message about sitting on her back porch, watching the night. Fireflies flickered in the humid dark. I am going to miss this maybe.

My children climb the fence behind my house to play with neighbor kids. One recent spontaneous Sunday, I found my dinner table packed with three other boys and their mother. Three leafy trees shade my yard. My walls are brilliant hues – raspberry for the powder room, electric blue on the stairway landing, chocolate brown in the upstairs hall and the most soothing shade of pumpkin for my kitchen.

The architecture is nothing to marvel at, but my next-door neighbors regularly knock on the door to see how I’m doing.

I’ve owned two houses in the last decade and loved both for their own little details. The Oak Park bungalow was something I bought when I was single and starting out on my own. I loved working under the eaves of the upper-level loft, but the monstrous dandelions grew too high beside my bedroom window to leave me comfortable.

This house we moved into when Eliana was pitting and rolling inside me and Asher was just a little guy with soft curly hair. We bought this house when we believed we’d somehow reach the distance like many couples do.

Now it’s time for me to find the next place to live, a place where I can see the future clearly and breathe easy when I walk outside my door, no matter the day.

I hate to go. I hate to stay.


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