when is a house not a home

by | Feb 20, 2022 | Jonathan Cardew - February Day 2

The house was a pretty dilapidated rancher, built in the 1960s or 1970s–I have never been good at estimating things like age or the time it takes to drive somewhere when you’re already late or how long it might take to end a marriage when the love part of it fails–and it wasn’t anything fancy, it was sort of falling apart and you had to be careful if you took the front steps in a hurry, but it had three bedrooms, one for me and my dog, one for my older son who had almost outgrown the bed I got for free from a friend of mine, and the other for my younger son who mostly slept squished between the dog and I anyway, and it felt like a landing spot, sort of how i thought armstrong must have felt when he landed on the moon, like, thank god, i’m finally here and that took a lot longer than expected, and we ate most of our meals outside on the back deck regardless of the weather, meals i prepared and put in the freezer when the boys were with their dad so i didn’t have to waste time cutting carrots or trimming pork loins when they were with me, and we’d talk about the moon and its faces and phases and what it means to have the rug pulled out from underneath you, metaphorically, i had to say when my youngest started jacking around with the entry-way runner, and where we wanted to go and what we wanted to be, and i’d always say, life is as young as you make it, when my boys asked how on earth i didn’t know what i wanted to be yet, but then i’d lie in bed most nights and stare up at the glow-in-the-dark stars the family who’d lived here before me or maybe the family who’d lived there before them had affixed to the ceiling in a random array, and i’d wonder what i actually wanted to be besides a mother and an ex-wife and a walker of the backroads in the middle of the moonlit night, and sometimes the way we’d sit squished on the bench out back, bowls on our laps, forks in our mouths, staring up at the sky, sometimes the way the stars on the ceiling seemed to move with the tears in my eyes, sometimes the way the steps out front would stop me from falling when i took them two-by-two because i was late for school or hockey or a sleepover pickup–sometimes it was the rancher that held us together and not the other way around.

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