Sunday, June 15, 2008

House Envy

Have you ever disliked someone for something they have no control over? Loathed their mere presence without ever making the effort to get to know them?

My neighbor is a very amiable divorcee in her early 50’s. She moved in about a year ago and she’s always been exceedingly friendly. I’m sure she’s a lovely person and I’m always ready to wave and say a friendly hello when I see her but beyond that I can’t seem to muster much effort.

Truth is, I hate the fact that she bought the house next to us. I’ve always liked that house ever since we moved into ours and when it was up for sale we toured it and after seeing the inside I loved it. In the timeframe between the tour and the day it sold I had hundreds and hundreds of lovely and vivid dreams of owning it myself and raising my children in its quaint window-seated bedrooms. Playing piano in the dining room, where the antique piano that’s been cluttering my mother’s house for years would have fit perfectly, creating a perfect garden oasis in the huge double lot backyard . . . But unfortunately when it was up for sale we were not financially ready to buy, and it would have been out of our price range regardless.

It’s really not fair of me to project my feelings of loss and regret on her and yet when I see her I can’t help but feel bitter that this single workaholic older woman is traversing the wooden winding staircase and hallway that should be littered with my children’s scattered toys and abandoned shoes. The walls are probably pristine and white when they should be covered in crayon scribbles and scuff marks. I mean what does a single old lady need with a 2 story, 4 bedroom house? She travels quite a bit and when I see it empty I almost feel like the home itself is sighing. It’s longing for the bustle of children and domestic goodness. Its windows are aching to be covered in tiny fingerprints and to rattle with the joyful screams of playing children. Instead it’s dark and lonely and quiet and I blame this on her.

Completely ridiculous and silly and yet there it is. It’s not her – hell I could have found fault with anyone who moved in there that wasn’t me. If Jesus himself moved in, I’d complain about how he doesn’t invite us to his wild monthly luau parties. Ewan McGregor could move in and I’d be livid that he trims his hedges while fully clothed.

I keep thinking I’ve reached a point that I can let things go and move on. I try to convince myself that my dream home is somewhere else and really wherever my family is together and happy is really a dream home anyway right? And then I see she’s having pizza delivered and all I can think is – I bet she just chucks the leftovers into one of the spare bedrooms. I mean what else could she possibly be using that space for?

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