It's daybreak and I'm walking with Boomer a few blocks from home. The sky is just beginning to turn from black to gray when I notice this house. A simple house. A common kind of house built in the 1940's. Single story. Gabled foyer with an arched oak front door with a high little window. The outside light is still burning. The newspaper lies folded near the step. The lawn is soft with morning dew and neatly manicured. Pots of inpatients bloom near the doorway. And it all looks so.... so normal.
I can imagine someone coming out that front door. Wearing slippers and a robe. Retrieving that morning paper. Retreating back inside for a cup of coffee and a leisurely read....
And I stand there with Boomer. Just staring at that door. Remembering.
Remembering the time when the paper laid by our front step and the lawn was neatly manicured and flowers bloomed in pots on our front porch. When it was me who slipped out in slippers and a robe and snatched the morning paper and then spent a leisurely hour drinking coffee and reading the paper, in bed, with Bob.
He always grabbed the front page. I started with the Arts & Literature section. He read every article. Me, I skimmed a lot. He did the crossword. I read the comics.
Right now, Bob is singing softly in his hospital bed. Singing to a tune on the radio. I write this while I wait for Chris to come over, so that I can rush to the pharmacy to drop off a prescription then to the grocery store, then back to the pharmacy and then home again. Ripley sits on my computer printer. Out the window there is no newspaper on our doorstep. The lawn is overgrown. The flower pots are empty. Litter blows down the sidewalk.
And I think of that other house. The normal one. And sometimes I just wish.... I wish... I wish...