I am sitting in our empty house. The movers have taken all our belongings and left us with a few chairs and a card table. I am remembering the first time my wife and I sat in this empty den, the day before we moved in.
We were young. Our new house was empty. We had both just gotten off work. She wore her teacher’s clothes. I wore a fast-food uniform. We were sitting cross-legged on the bare floor.
I was eating moo shu pork. She ordered the garlic broccoli, but she was stealing my pork one bite at a time. This was beginning to offend me.
“Can you believe this house is ours?” said my wife, stabbing her chopsticks into my container.
“No,” I said. “I can’t.”
“This is our house. OUR house.”
“It’s a great house.”
Until now we had been living in a 700-square-foot apartment with a window unit AC that only worked during leap years. Our downstairs neighbors’ dogs had given the entire building a flea infestation.
Our new house was remote.
The property wasn’t located on the edge of the world, but you could see it from there.
Thousands of acres of longleafs surrounded us. Cell reception was a myth. Nobody owned GPSs back then. There were no streetlights, no markers on the dirt roads. Even with competent directions, most of our friends got lost looking for our house and ended up sleeping in their cars.
In recent decades, county fugitives have taken their chances in these woods. The escapees never make it against the elements. They always stagger out of the wilderness with copperheads and bobcats attached to their limbs, muttering, “I can’t do this anymore, take me to prison.”
My wife stole five more bites of my moo shu pork when I wasn’t looking.
“You think we’ll grow old in this house?” said my young wife. “You think this will be the place…