The house came with light pink walls. There was also flower wallpaper borders along the top of the ceiling in the bedrooms. The home was built in 1984 and is located in a neighborhood a teenager may describe as an old person’s neighborhood, older homes, space between lots. Not subdivisiony. I am fine with that. I am tearing the borders off, obviously, and painting the walls white now, these walls in a new house I never intended to own. I’ve thought about these walls and the rooms and the backyard and the kitchen and it’s weird to know I live here and this is my house but it is all so new. This is a new neighborhood. Now my own little corner of the world. There’s a new gas station I visit when I run out of coffee and the workers there haven’t seen me much to know I will be in there from time to time. There is a new supermarket I go to when I need groceries. Maybe they’ve noticed me. Maybe they’ve noticed I have gone in there a couple of times to buy flowers or hot food from the deli when I don’t feel good, when cooking a meal feels like the most difficult thing on earth. Healthier people eat in more, by the way. It is hard to believe when things contradict each other. Why does change not feel like change even though years have gone by? Why do I feel as if there’s been no transition yet it’s almost been three years? I was washing dishes the other day, looking out into this new backyard and I sensed being in another world, longer down the road of a new life. I sighed and said it was true. And that’s okay. And the questions are okay too. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in a movie or a book. That I’m a fictional character dealing with one thing after another and then it dawns on me that that’s the same position all of us are in. Unexpected things are not shy. They show up at your door, intruding visitors and plop themselves in your living room, asking for a glass of water first because they say it’s a long story, before telling you their origin lies in something you did or failed to do. They find everybody, caring nothing for class or race. I have been in this house close to two months and the vision I had for this place is moving very slowly. More things happen, more visitors show up at my door with stories to tell. And it’s not like they tell lies, somethings I admit to, somethings I’m confused about, sometimes all we can say is, “I tried my best, I didn’t see these things happening.” Summer vacation becomes what I did not expect. I know that’s petty. I have all I need but rest. Then more things happen. You wave a white flag nobody sees, maybe a small few are kind and keen enough to notice. And you thank them, you better. I want to flee and hide and find somewhere I can breathe. When I was a younger man, I loved going to unexpected places, small towns, hideaways, coffee shops far away, a store in the foothills, places that had no relationship with me, places I heard others talk about and marked them for my own. I was bold enough to visit, to show my face and plant my flag because I could. I have not done that in a while, getting away. I want to travel and walk around and not be dictated by any agenda save that of sun and waves, reflection without a sharing of it and days without timelines. I want, like that old Radiohead song says, be noticed for not being around. I want to wander and get lost, to hide in the open and enjoy it; I want to pay for coffee with change from my pocket and sit in a nondescript shop keeping a journal with thoughts. And when I return, only those who matter get the details. Away and with less serves me best, a healthy ambivalence to the busyness of Americanism and life. No, I don’t want to stay busy, exhausting my cognitive abilities and mental and emotional presence. I want to do simple things well; walking with Jesus, loving my children, working diligently, strengthening new and old relationships and growing as a human, as a man. And maybe traveling.

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