This weekend, we house-sat for J.’s family while they went off to California to celebrate how they believe in the beauty and everlastingness of true love, at their grandparents’ one hundred thousandth wedding anniversary, which I believe is rocks, though it could be paper or scissors. I am not well-versed in the etiquette behind anniversary presents, which is why I usually provide big hunks of cash, or strippers, to my beloveds on the occasion of the anniversary of our own true love. You can make up your own joke about my relationships right here.
Anyway, it was a happy occasion for which they needed to leave behind the two dogs, the most gorgeous cat in the world–seriously, emerald green eyes, I’ve never seen a cat with those–and a giant, beautiful sprawling house, just five minutes away from mine, but also a million miles away: t’s got tall ceilings and a million huge picture windows and large expanses of shining wood floors and yet, oddly enough, a sense of cozy comfort (and a veranda! and a back patio! and a solarium, and a giant, green grassy yard full of tulips and a pond full of fish!) that makes you want to deport the whole family (to someplace nice, of course) and live there happily in their stead for ever and ever.
They were worried about the animals, we were planning a low-key
weekend, and before the question pretty much left E’s mouth, I said
yes! Yes, we will stay at your pretty house and roll around on your
lawn in the sunshine and pretend we are so fancy! They left for us many
good supplies like soda and frozen pizza and complicated instructions
on feeding the animals (two out of three need to be cooked for and have
special supplements added. It is more than what I do for myself, taking
care of these puppies). We spent the weekend sleeping late under
handmade quilts in a lavender room, and lolling around in the breeze
that came through the door that leads out to the lawn. We read and
looked at our laptops and talked and watched a whole lot of Ninja
Warrior. We sat in the sunshine with the dogs and wished for mint juleps and sun hats.
I love that house, as much as I love the family, not just because it’s
gorgeous, but because it very much feels like them. The odd thing is, I
realized this weekend–I first saw this house almost exactly three years
ago, before I had ever heard of this tiny town, or had ever even known
E existed. Mo Pie was heading out on her great adventure to Wisconsin,
and our road trip was taking us through Utah and Salt Lake City. J.
offered to have us stay at his family’s house, and it was a short
detour north to a little green town. Our host had left us little boxes of pirate Legos on our beds as welcoming gifts, and we sat on the front veranda and sipped
whiskey and talked even though it was so late, because it had been so
long since we had seen J.
He gave us a tour of the house, and sent us off to bed. Maybe it was
the thirty thousand hours of driving that had killed us, but that was
the prettiest house and the most comfortable bed in which I had ever
slept. We left so early in the morning, stopping at a coffee shop, and
then we were back on the highway and heading on to parts east, and I was
pretty sure that was the last time I was ever going to see that house,
or that town, ever again. When would I ever be back in a small town no
one’s ever heard of, somewhere in northern Utah?
Funny, how I live here now, five minutes from that house. Funny, how I
go to that coffee shop all the time, now. Funny, I guess, the way the
world works. I don’t remember, very well, what I was doing, or how. Was
I trying to finish my thesis? I think I was slowly creeping up on my
heaviest weight ever. I imagine I was happy. I don’t think I would have
ever imagined this future for myself, or that I would have known how
happy I could be in it.