I can start at the beginning, or I can start today. But what is the beginning? The day we met? The night we shared our first kiss? Or the day, 26 years later, that he came to me and said, "I think something's wrong"?
So I'll start today, and maybe in time I can work my way back other beginnings.
No, not other beginnings. Today is not a beginning, it's a sort of hazy intermission. Or at least I hope it is. I may look back on this date and say "Yes, that was the day it all started. The day I found that house and started to put my shattered life back together again". But then again, maybe this house won't work out for one reason or another, or I'll slide back into the haze for another few months. It's kind of hard to tell right now. Forest for the trees, and all that.
What I can tell you is that yesterday I called a real estate agent, an old friend of my mom's, and told her I wanted to start looking for a house in my home town. I was very specific. I knew exactly what I wanted and I was willing to wait for it. I wanted a country house, small but nice, with no goddamn homeowners associations (I don't think I actually said goddamn to the agent; I tend to leave my profanity until after I've met someone in person). I don't mind a few neighbors scattered about, but I'll be damned if anyone is going to tell me what color I can paint my front door ever again.
Three hours later, when I should have been working, I found the house. It's on a country road a few miles outside of town, in an isolated row of houses on one-acre lots. Ranchettes, you could call them. I know the neighborhood. When I was in first grade, I had a friend who lived in one of those houses. I don't remember which one, but I know she moved away the next year. But I remember play dates at her house, her mother with the big hair, her father with those 1970s sideburns. A birthday party in her back yard.
Anyway, I digress...back to the house. It's the size I want, the number of bedrooms. It's old enough to be quaint, but beautiful inside and out. One story, with a huge workshop in the back. It has an orchard - an orchard! It has an office space and a rustic pergola and a back area full of planter beds. And it's rural, for sure. That's a propane tank across the yard (I'll have to get propane service) and the houses share a well with a neighboring farm. The listing specifically states that the grower provides a supply of produce in exchange for permission to use the well. It's the kind of house that deserves its own name, something like Shady Meadows or Duct Tape Acres.
For the first time since our first kiss, I am in love.