It is early on this particular Saturday morning as I drive down my street, heading to the grocery store. The day is gray and cold. The latest cold front has moved in on top of us, but has yet to start dropping the promised snow. As I drive, I notice how dingy and rundown this street looks. This is a high poverty area. There are people walking down the side walk or street at all hours of the night. On this morning, a man walks towards the bus stop carrying his hands behind his back as if they are ready for handcuffs. I wonder if the way he is carrying himself is a reflection of how he feels about the job he's heading to. We are on the end of Troost that contains rows and rows of rundown apartment buildings. Section 8 housing. There's an abandoned school on the right. When the weather's nice, you'll see a group of ladies walking the worn out track. All of this happens a few blocks from my house. This is where I feel at home. This area is familiar to me and reminds me of places I've lived before, but Michael shakes his head. "This is not a good neighborhood" said as the police helicopter circles. Yet, I am not bothered and secretly I don't think he is either. He mentioned recently that we could just renovate my house to fit us. There's plenty of room to expand into the backyard, though there's not enough space for a two car garage. We agreed that at the end of it all, we still couldn't make my house into the list of things we both wanted. There is a strong possibility that this will be year for paying off credit card debt. Next year will be the year of saving for a down payment. This conversation about staying in my house for longer than expected made my heart sink a bit. I had geared myself up for a new house, a new backyard garden, a new kitchen. Things I'm still getting, just not right this minute. Things I will have to be patient for. But I am also relieved.
This house has served me well. Yes, it's tiny. Michael stretched the other evening and almost took out the ceiling fan. But there's a routine that I've built up around this house. There's a path from my house to the grocery store. I enjoy the thumping base of the cars that cruise down the street or that kid that struts down the sidewalk, rapping a tune as he goes. To look at me, I am the least likely to live in a neighborhood like mine. Girls like me should gravitate to condominiums in "safe" neighborhoods (I was asked so many times if I planned on staying here after Chris died). I have made this my home and my neighborhood. I painted these walls and hung those pictures. I paid for the washer and dryer in the basement. I have made friends with the man up the street that grows buckets of dahlias every year. I know this neighborhood.
So, I will plant seeds in my old garden this Spring along with the onion and garlic bulbs mom sent home with me. Happy Love Thursday.