I had that dream again last night -- the one where I end up moving to a house that in some mythic way is better, constellations better, than the house I live in now. Maybe it's bigger, maybe quieter, and in almost all cases has a secret room or passageway I didn't know existed. As this particular dream progresses, I come to find the flaws of the new living space--water in the basement, black mold, or someone else's bedroom at the end of that secret passage--and end up pining for my little green house, which I can't believe I abandoned in the first place. Sometimes the dream goes on long enough that I go back by cover of night to the little green house, and I spy on the new people living there as I ache with envy and regret.
This particular dream usually comes after a teeter-totter of real events: something truly terrible happening nearby, which makes me curse our ever having bought this house in the first place, followed by something unspeakably beautiful, which makes it tough for me to imagine ever living anywhere else.
This week started with a cyclist getting shot just two blocks away, riding home around 1am, something John and I are no strangers to. I haven't heard further details, but the circumstances alone were enough to make a neighbor say, "What's going on with this neighborhood?!" I couldn't agree more. It's unconscionable.
But then last night, as I was walking home from the grocery store, I passed the building where a bunch of unsupervised hellraisers play in the sidewalk day and night. Several of them were taking turns jumping off a giant rock on a pogo stick. An older girl was screaming at them to STOP IT!!! before somebody got hurt. A smaller girl watched the proceedings while sitting on a mighty agreeable rottweiler. And just then a particularly tough looking boy came out of the building and . . . get ready for it . . . sweetly and proudly started playing the flute.
Yes, I said the flute.
Breathy notes strung together in a song he didn't have down quite yet, but was dutifully practicing. Not because somebody was hounding him to do it, but because he loved that flute and didn't care if the whole neighborhood knew it. It was pretty clear, in fact, he wanted to be noticed.
If I were a betting woman, I'd put down money that this particular tableau wouldn't happen near any of those bigger, quieter, or more circuitous houses that huckster up my dreams. How unlucky to live in a place where such a thing isn't possible.