Home at Last
Bobbi was waiting for us in Applebee’s parking lot. Charla and I had called her periodically on our journey to give estimates of arrival time. As she loaded us into her Lincoln, she blasted the air on high and checked the long list of appointments she’d arranged for us.
“Any friend of Jaycie’s is a friend of mine.” Bobbi and Charla recognized each other from years and years ago. Friends already, we set off on our quest.
At the third house, I began to lose heart and moan. “It’s dark; it’s ugly; it’s ten feet from the freeway; that pond is covered with green slime; my legs ache; and I’ll never make it through the house.”
Charla volunteered to play the role of the potential buyer for me, fulfilling our appointments, and taking a cursory walk-through at each property we consigned to the “Absolutely Not” category. I waited in the car.
I don’t remember how many houses we traipsed through—seemed like endless dozens of hopeless cases.
Finally, at dusk, Charla pointed and shouted, “That’s the one! That’s the one.”
Bobbi and I gasped as we rounded the corner, thinking we’d found our next appointment. The house wasn’t on her list, but it did have a for-sale sign in the front yard.
Bobbi drove through the gap in the white picket fence, flushing out several baby rabbits. “Would you look at those gables!”
“Cute, cute, cute.” Charla whispered the mantra that had become our battle cry.
Transfixed, I said nothing.
I saw home.
Hollyhocks. Shutters on every window, a double swing on the front porch, a sunny yard, acres of dark forest, outbuildings with distinct possibilities, a well-weeded vegetable garden, even a dog house.
Wild flowers lined the fence separating the yard from the woods: Feverfew, Wild Red Clover, Queen Anne’s Lace, and tiny pink wild roses.
In the light of the gaudy sunset in the valley below, Charla, Bobbi, and I shot one another the “Absolutely Perfect” look.
Wincing, I heaved myself out of the car and hobbled to the front porch. My heart thumped as Bobbi asked the price. Much less than we’d planned to pay.
I saw us happily growing old in this place. Reading and writing together in the sunny rooms and under the peach trees in “the bee-loud glade.” Watching those baby rabbits play like kittens. Pouring gallons of iced tea for neighbors and friends. Luring Frank out for sunsets and stargazing. Almost exactly as I’d journaled it.
Imagine being able to see the stars again after so many years in the city.
Home at last.