Through my window I can see across the street to the nondescript office building, which, dull as it is, still reflects the trees in its sleek black windows. In the median of the divided road stand a row of bushes with deep red flowers of some sort. They look brushy and tough – not delicate flowers. There are two trees shading my window, thankfully. Sitting in a cubical next to ceiling to floor glass gives you a good view, but you suffer the fluctuation of temperature. Right now those trees are producing a very pleasant deep green shade. I love shade. The clouds are smeared along the horizon but building up to billowing storm clouds further up in the sky. Despite the traffic I can still hear birdsong.
I watch the cars pass and I wonder about the lives of the people inside. Are they boring or interesting? Do they have fond memories of childhood? Are they obnoxious? How many of them are murderers? You see, I figure some of them have to be murderers. When I lived in New York, I liked to go for walks in the evening, just as people were turning on their lights. Because this was New York, I would usually catch glimpses of bookshelves as I walked past. I found that very comforting. You don’t see that here. Suburbs aren’t comforting in that cool, intellectual way. They offer instead a haven without connection: planned communities, cul-de-sacs, community pools, a common belief in keeping your yard well-groomed and your cars washed. You may or may not know your neighbor, but together you present a united front against the messy, obsolete suburban sprawls of earlier years, now revealing their age.
You might think that I don’t like suburbs from what I just said, but that is not the case. We live in an obsolete sprawl, and I would prefer to live in the more polished neighborhoods with fresh sidewalks and shiny black street lamps, the sort of neighborhood where young women roll out the baby strollers in the evenings and the cars have to drive slowly. DramaQueen envies her best friend, who has a huge, beautifully decorated house with a pool. She would much rather go there than have her friend over to our house. I remember feeling the same way as a girl, once I got a glimpse of some of my classmates’ homes. Ours was pokey and dingy with no redeeming features at all. Where there was carpet, I wanted yards of glossy wood. Where there was scrubby grass I wanted a smooth velvety lawn. I wanted to trade up my parents as well, for some who were more sophisticated and younger.
Dear Husband has been feeling sad lately, as he watches DramaQueen become more independent. He feels the relationship shifting as he’s gently nudged out of the center. I don’t feel this so much. Mom’s remain the go-to person by default. Still, I notice the contrast between her and Firecracker. DramaQueen is growing less inclined for goodbye hugs and kisses, happy to spend time away from home with friends, but very protective of Firecracker when they are somewhere together. Firecracker is still intensely affectionate, uneasy without her family, particularly uneasy when her big sister is away. She remains very much a little girl, eager to curl up on my lap for a cuddle.
I was hoping I might stumble upon some concluding thoughts, but I haven’t the time to ponder further if I ever want to actually post this. Make of it what you will.