Maria and I left the house and we went to buy groceries. I made believe that grocery shopping is as good as a drive in the country to buy chicks and flowers for the garden. I practiced looking at the world with happy, cheery thoughts and loads of gratitude. Maria helped me fill the cart with carrots and green onions, orange juice, peanut butter, whole grain pasta. I tried to relax about my dreams and expectations not meeting my reality and to accept that some day we might feel at home, settled, assured. Maria was such a good girl. She giggled and chattered and we loaded and unloaded the cart together. On the way home I decided to continue making the family room respectable, maybe ask friends over to play on Sunday.
The boys met us at the front door looking anxious. William said, "GaryBob is here." GaryBob is our new, generic landlord name, and its mere utterance gives me pause. William continued, "He said he came to check on the yard." I held my breath and walked around to the back anticipating meeting the landlord face to face. He was already gone. I wonder what he thought about the tent on the lawn, the sidewalk chalk dissolving in the huge patio puddle, the bed sheets drying on the line I hung between the two trees. Did he see the cat, the extra one we supposedly don't have? Did he look in the front window where we left the trains strewn across the family room floor, next to the 100 pens Maria pulled from their case? I did clean the cracked eggs from the carpet, but did he notice the yolk yellow stain that won't come up?
I left home ready to make a fresh start and shake off the feelings of bitterness and regret, and I almost got there.