Veer off the two-lane highway and you’ll find a quieter road. It was the original path of old-time island travel, now kind of forgotten, lined in tall grasses, with a faded yellow line.
On this road there are two driveways that run parallel. Go to the right and you’re back in time 11 years ago. There, a 29-year old woman lives in a school bus up on blocks. She’s tending a garden with marigolds and basil. Hanging prayer flags above the driver’s window. Wondering if her boyfriend will return from India and want to keep playing house.
Nine months later, her boyfriend is back. They’ve built a screened in porch and attached it to the school bus. Spent a hard-earned $500 on a king size mattress that rests upon a handmade frame. Baby clothes are laundered and waiting in the corner. Candles are placed on the window sill. They’re going to have a baby and she wants to have the birth right there at home.
Go back to those driveways running side by side. The ones separated by a hibiscus hedge twenty feet tall. This time, go to the left. It’s ten years later. That same woman is planting kale in a different garden bed. She’s forty now. She can hear her ten-year old humming from the treehouse, hidden from view, but somewhere perched between blue sky and ground.
The boyfriend, who is his father, is just that. The young boy’s dad is the man that gave her a dream come true, then moved along to find his own. She had other dreams, as well. And one of them is near the mint turning over a new plot. Her husband, her truest love, adds rich compost to the overturned soil and readies it for planting.
Ten years ago today, at 11:07am, a fragile, wet and perfect soul was placed upon my chest with parted lips and curling fingers. Today marks the day that Jeb was born.
Ten years ago, I lived next door to the very house where I now reside. I was a young mother, nursing in a school-bus-of-a-home, watching my baby grow. Today, we live in a house with bedrooms and indoor plumbing. I am married. I have a family. And my ten-year old son and I can wear the same size shoe.