This house, pictured here, stands on the corner of my parents' street in NJ. It has long been my favorite house in our small coastal town, but lately it's had an odd effect on me. It's my reminder of the dreams I had as a girl, and if they'll ever fully be mine again.
I stand here for a minute while the dog sniffs around, and I picture a game of football on the lawn, a tussle of cousins and siblings with grass-stained jeans and Giants jerseys on their backs. I look closer and I see not only my extended family, but a partner and kids of my own in the mix.
Yes. Three kids, I think, looking up at the tree for a spot for the World's Coolest Fort. Maybe even more than 3. All boys with sturdy, Scottish and Irish and French names.
And good health for them, and for me too. No durable medical equipment attached to my body, just maybe a kid or two in a sling across my chest. I picture cartwheels and sprinklers and childhood, unfurling across this blank green space.
I stand at this house and I think about this dream, the one I've given up on, the life that I'm certain I do not want.
But there's something about this house, this lawn, that has me thinking of the adventure I'm most afraid to embark on. It has me wondering if I'll ever have the courage to pursue it, and if I really ever can.
Does this house remind me of my girlhood innocence, or does it soften my jaded edges and impulses, the ones that tell me I am too sick for this life, that I belong on the road? Or, maybe, is this house telling me that the dream is still a possibility, and it is one I must pursue?
There is time, I think, as Shea pulls her leash, eager to sniff some new grass. And I need more.