Sunday, September 14, 2008

The House on 72nd

The car rounded the corner silently and with ease, as if it were meant to take that turn on each one of its journeys. It was a corner that just that day, I was silently hoping Mike would take so that I could get that same swell in my chest that happened each time we came upon this thing that I now call: "the little house that stole my heart."

This Sunday was not different from most - we were shaping our dreams by dropping into open houses - taking in their scents, the memories lived out in each and the feel of hope that belonged to each owner. Picturing our items in some, touring the closets that are organized just for these occasions and preparing our hearts for the fact the timing was just not right. Torture, some might say, but we like to call it "preparation."

We had just spent some time in a little gem west of the village that sat next to some of our dearest friends, digesting in conversation its beauty, updated touches and looming backyard. We were chatting quietly and taking in the sounds of the leaves that had begun to tumble, the shifting of shadows and the beauty that comes with Prairie Village and its culture. When suddenly, there she was..

The Little House That Stole My Heart.

Only this time she had a sign perched cautiously toward the end of the driveway, indicating her owners were taking a stab at it on their own. Hoping, perhaps reluctantly, that someone would drive by and rediscover the love that they had had for nearly 10 years in this very same home.

Instantly, this very same house that stole my heart took it and ripped it from my chest. The familiar pangs of disappointment, panic and fear revisited themselves within my body as I began to scream mentally: "this isn't right! God was supposed to time this and save this for Team Choate to raise their children, host their friends, nurture their family! What can I sell? How can I make this happen? Oh my gosh our house isn't ready!"

So there she sits - a For Sale by Owner sign tucked neatly on her threshold - promising those that drive by the tree-lined street that they too, have the opportunity to relish in its quaint structure, feel at home in her arms and bring a sense of peace and love that can only be experienced within the wall of a soul-mate house.

As we whisked by, Mike went frantically to raise the car window, perhaps thinking I'd burst through the metal, run to the door and beg for mercy that they wait until the timing was right to take this treasure from their hands. "I thought you might shout out the window and ask her if she's lowered her price," he said with a slight twist of his mouth.

A pretty blonde woman walked with purpose on the driveway, gathering her children and chatting with the neighbor next door. Perfect, I thought, for the kind of interactions I had pictured happening but with my body there, my children ahead and the same lovely neighbor right next door.

I'm silent the whole drive home, sucking in fresh air from the cracked windows, hoping it will prevent tears from falling down my paling cheeks. Trying fervently to keep my promise to Mike, he quietly rubs my shoulders and asks if I'm tired. For a moment I ponder sharing with him that no, I'm in fact devastated and sad, but feel the pressure of knowing the selfishness of those words given the amount of blessings alive in my life.

So now I sit, soft, melodic whispers of music in the background. Thinking of the angled sunlight through her windows, the swaying tree tops, the screened-in porch that perfectly holds a rocker and reader, the space just wide enough for our kitchen table for conversations that can only happen at the dinner table and the customized master tucked just far away enough to rediscover sanity at the end of a long day. And I wonder:

Will She Ever Be Mine?

They say there are others just like her out there, that there is nothing so unique about her that can't be found in another tree-lined street on another sunny day. That patience is a virtue, and that everything happens for a reason. But I know, sure as my soul does, that this is where we were meant to be. To spend the next 20 years of our lives surrounded in her glory, the smallness of her walls, creaking of her floors. To dance, to cry, to live, to love...this is supposed to be our home.

I think of all those who have opinions about gut feelings, feng shui, human energies and fate. And I think to myself-they're just going to think I'm crazy. But then I picture her again, and suddenly, for once, I don't care. Because I love everything about her - her imperfections, her hidden jewels, her very being. And I think - how ironic that building a home is so much about finding love.

I hold these thoughts close and begin to consciously count the endless gifts I've been given in life to ease the pain, provide perspective and loosen the ache that grows deeper and deeper in the place I suspect holds my heart. And as I set aside my plans to sell the car, the furniture - hell, my soul...I am still left to peacefully wonder if I will ever have the chance to let her steal my heart again.

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