We've lived in this house at least three times longer than I have ever lived anywhere in my entire life. I puzzle over whether we've done a grave disservice to the three kids we have, subjecting them to living their entire K-12 school years with the same people, the same parents, the same fucked-up school district.
There is a house next door. (Ain't there always a house next door? Cue horror movie music.) When we moved in, it was rented out to the most drugged-out, oft-arrested woman, Susan, and her high school son. (Yeah, I took photos of one of the times she was arrested.) When repeated calls to the police went unanswered, I took to calling the landlord at 2 a.m. so she, too, could share the joys of living next to her tenant. When Susan skipped town owing four months' rent, I thought it was a reasonable penalty for the landlord.
Circumstances being circumstances, the family of one of Eldest's best friends in kindergarten bought the house and moved next door. The handyman father built steps between our two yards so the kids could come and go. A ready-made commune, really. Until they pined for a home in the country and sold at the height of the market to another family.
Nice folks, the new ones. Husband hailing from El Salvador, wife of German-Mexican heritage, and two boys only slightly older than my own brood. Good folks. Good neighbors. And then, you know, divorce rears its ugly head amid a crippling recession. They leave.
And the childless spy and his equally childless wife scoop up a short sale and move in. Awkwardness of a grand scale. They are takers but not givers, until they finally move and rent the house out. When they move, they give us all of their opened-but-not-all-used condiments. What. The. Fuck. Right?
But the renters? They are delicious! A British couple with a girl nearly 3 years old. And we adore them. And they are the best. And, oh, can't they live next door forever?
They move out at the end of April, and a friendship the entire family adores may or may not endure as they move miles from us. Will it go the way of the ones who lived there two owners before -- who we were so very close to and haven't seen in years and likely couldn't pick out of a line-up (which isn't to say they're likely to be in a line-up but you know what I mean)?
I don't want to know. But I want to have faith. And I also want to know how I ended up always being left behind when I lived the first two-thirds of my life being the one leaving.