They greet me at the door saying, “Is this the General?”
That’s about the finest opening line possible from folks I’ve known this long. I was expecting “You look so much like your mother” or at least “Remind me–how old are you now?”
Bill and Donna have known me since I was knee high to a pig’s eye. Their daughter Bethy and I used to write each other letters between Palawan to San Diego. She had an older sister and a pet monkey; I’m sure I had something that made her jealous, but lord knows what it could have been.
Now she builds houses with Habitat for Humanity in Torrance, I roam around the country looking for things to write about, and her parents are headed back to the Philippines for two months.
Which now means I have a house for two months.
And a cat.
His name is Beck.
I love waking up in the morning to a whole slew of rooms that only I will stand in.
I love waiting in the square of sunlight while my tea water brews.
I love the windowseat (you can’t know what joy a windowseat gives me) and the view of the street I have, that hides me from view of everyone except the neighbor when he’s working on his ’66 Mustang. (Which seems like a fair trade.)
I love filling the fridge with groceries and the other rooms with flowers.
I love the Stella Artois glass that has become my designated kombucha vessel.
I love having a house that isn’t mine.
In the morning, I make tea and settle into the patch of sunlight on the windowseat. I spend the rest of the day chasing it across the kitchen until it hits the carpet just after noon.
Beck isn’t always sure that he wants to share it with me. It largely depends on how generous I was with the canned mackerel, the night before.
In the evenings, I run down the hill, over the freeway, past the stadium and all the way up the ridiculous hill that is Mission Village Drive. You should be impressed–I am pretty impressed with myself. Even more so, when I time it and discover that it only takes about ten minutes from foot to crest. I’m not sure if that says a lot for my strength, or very little for my perception.
I worried, in taking this gig for two months, that I’d suffer loneliness.
In fact, a house can be its own company.