Saturday, May 9, 2009

the dog days of summer

You quit your job four years ago to become self-employed.

You didn’t foresee the far-reaching effects of the recession, or maybe you did, but never really believed that it could impact you directly. And even when the recession has affected you, somehow, you remain cheerful and resigned, accepting the good with the bad and continuing to move forward.

You moved across country to be close to family. No one forced you to do this. You took a good long look at where your life was going, and thought about how much you missed your family every day. How your parents weren’t getting any younger. It seemed like the best decision you could have made. And you have no regrets, even when you miss the people you left behind.

Today, for some reason, you remembered a street in the town where you lived that was lined with old houses. Pristine, oversized white homes with crisp dark green shutters and pretty tree-lined lawns. American flags snapping in a stiff breeze, lying dormant in the hot months of summer. You’ve always thought of them as cupcake houses. They remind you of the house where you were born. They’re in the same town, actually. In the same neighborhood.

Right about now, you thought, everything’s green, those big trees are swaying gently over the wide street and somewhere, a child is soaring through the treetops on a swing. Laughing.

Some days, like today, you miss your friends and wonder what they’re doing. Wonder if they’re barbecuing and enjoying the first signs of another long Midwestern summer. Drinking bottles of beer from Oregon or sipping big glasses of wine and playing a beanbag game. Thwack. Thwack. Thwack. Laughing as they get farther and farther from the goal with every emptied bottle.

You know you did the right thing. But sometimes, you miss them. And you have to wonder: Are they somewhere missing you?