“I’ve got a pit in my stomach.”
I nodded because I did too, but hadn’t said it aloud.
“It feels so isolated and quiet! Where is everybody?”
I didn’t answer. I’d been thinking the same things, but we made the move and now the best must be made of it.
We sat ensconced in beach chairs, right there in the middle of our driveway. The girls skittered about in the empty cul de sac.
“How was your trip back to the old place?” I asked casually, but my knotted brow betrayed me.
He sighed. An impressive sigh, for one not given to melodrama. “Lots of people out. Bars and restaurants packed.” He paused, then, “I didn’t know how much I fed off the energy of others.”
“Welcome to my world.”
Other peoples “auras” always impacted me. Energies, moods, all that. I absorbed them whole and reflected them back. Since we’d moved to the suburbs, the calmness of it all unnerved me. There wasn’t any energy to conduct. No one in the cul de sac we’d moved here for, no one in the driveways chatting it up, no hide and seekers, no bikes.
“We’re in the suburbs, dammit! This is why we’re here! It’s smelling like false advertising.” I looked across to the closed garages and perfect landscaping. “This sucks.”
Then a memory: Toots’s preschool teacher told me that when they’d moved to a new community, she and her husband promised each other they wouldn’t complain. Not a word. Nothing negative or assumptive would drip from their mouths. It’s contagious.
Another recall: All my moves, each and every one, started out with me unsure, secure in the knowledge that I wouldn’t fit into the new neighborhood. And each and every one turned out to be another step toward something. Something I needed to learn. In short, it all works out.
Just you wait. Just hold on.
It was always like that.
Each and every time.
So, when a blonde forty-something and her daughter walked purposefully toward us about a minute later, I knew this move was unfolding like all the others.
We chatted for about 20 minutes and she seemed maybe fun. Also possibly normal. Or not, which is even better. She knew who Jon Hamm was. I smiled at my Mom God up there in heaven.
She knows better than anyone about the moves, the sullen daughter, the quantum shift to “maybe this ain’t so bad after all.”
Still, I wavered. Then today, another quiet cul de sac. Tears from my oldest.
No friends, she says. No one to play with.
Her desperation hurts the sullen daughter inside.
Just you wait, I tell her. Just hold on.
I know, but she doesn’t.
Then: a girl her age three houses down smiles from outside the garage door.
And we’re off.
It’s always like that.
Each and every time.
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