“I’ve discovered why our autonomy’s been all messed up and why the fridge keeps glitching,” Gray said. “Our house is too full.”
“Nah,” I said. “It’s the same as ever.”
But it wasn’t. First Aya, now Elder, we’ve got a houseful of eight.
I liked it at first–automatic birth control. We can’t “Try for Baby” in a full house.
But I had to admit that Gray had a point. We’d get into these situations where we’d all just freeze and it felt like time had stopped, but it was really moving, and when we got unstuck, we’d find ourselves hungry or stinky or too sleepy to stand.
This was no way to live.
It sure wasn’t the free, easy kind of life that we all wanted.
“I’ve got the perfect solution,” Gray said. “It’s so natural! Emma and I will move across the street into Tani’s old house with Olivia and Adrianna.”
Olivia and Adrianna seemed really happy living across the street in Tani’s old house. Adrianna, especially. She’d been without a home, just camping out in Oasis Springs, so living in an actual house offered her something she needed. And there was plenty of room over there for Emma and Gray.
I felt so sad, though. “I can’t stand for you guys to move out,” I tried to explain. “It’s like our house is me–it’s our space, and I feel like… when I’m home and I relax, I’m just aware of everything in the house, and that includes everyone in the house, and if you guys move out, you won’t be inside this space that feels like me!”
“Ah,” said Gray. “Don’t think of it as your space shrinking. Look at it as a chance for your space to increase! You know we’ll still be over every day–we’re just across the street! And you’ll come over to see us all the time, too, and our space will always be your space!”
He had a point, I guess.
“Before you know it, you and Elder will have kids, and then more of us will be moving into more houses, and heck! Before you know it, all of Willow Creek will be your space!”
So Emma and Gray moved across the street. and our home fell into a few new constellations. Tani, Aya, Gray, and Alex have been spending a lot of time together.
And that’s allowed Elder and me to have more time with just the two of us.
There’s not always a big long line waiting to use the tub, which means Elder can even take a nap in a bath, if he wants.
There are still plenty of times when plenty of people are around. Like whenever Elder and I have a home date, for instance. It always seems like halfway through the date, somebody wanders into our room for a hug or to share a joke.
Somehow, we don’t mind so much anymore because we’re not in a hurry. We know that each night, we’ll be sleeping side by side, and each day, we’ll find moments when no one else is around. And that makes it easier to enjoy the moments when our friends are around.
Though they don’t come over every day, Emma and Gray come over often.
It felt so strange the first time I say Emma on the porch, waiting to be let in.
The most awkward feeling–walking to the door to let Emma in!
Then she opened the door herself. She looked a little homesick–but she came right on in, like she still lived here.
“Hey! Our hallway feels like home again, with you back in it, Em!”
Even though she’d just moved out, I still missed her. Wish my home had as much room as my heart.
Emma said it should work both ways–we should drop by their place often, too!
So the next day, Elder and I headed over to the big old mansion. It’s odd that I’d only been in there twice–to welcome Elder’s friends for the wedding, and then this time.
I think it’s because Tani never even wanted to think of her old childhood home. She blotted it out, and so pretty soon, we all did. Now, we’ve got to learn to see it again, and I’ve got to learn how to open up my space so that it includes this big house over here.
I found Gray sitting by himself on the back porch with a plate of hotdogs he’d just grilled up. He looked so different. He wasn’t smiling or bright, like he always was at home.
“Hey, buddy!” I said. “Great house you’ve got!”
We chatted. Soon he was smiling again. Adrianna joined us. She was feeling a little gloomy and a little tense from not getting enough time outdoors.
I guess Gray will have to get to know Adrianna and Olivia, to become familiar with all their moods, and beliefs, and interests.
Olivia joined us, too. We chatted into the evening, and I was glad to see my friends slowly start to feel happy and relaxed.
I realized that we could see the side of our house and our backyard from there, including our rocket.
Which reminded me… Elder and I still haven’t inaugurated that rocket! And he’s got a family history with those things.