Friday, October 20, 2017

I Walk

I walk a lot in Idaho.

I walk in the mornings after the older kids get on the bus and before Jeff goes to work. I walk in the afternoon after Avery comes home from school. We walk around downtown or the mall so that Ben will take a nap in the stroller. And I try to take a walk right after dinner.

On the last walk, I think.

I try not to think about what is better or worse. I mostly think about what is different. I think that in Virginia, Jeff wouldn't necessarily be home for dinner. I wouldn't be able to walk by myself. I think about the trails in Virginia, how wooded and lovely they were. In Idaho, our house backs up to a large park with trails. It's manicured and different. It feels very safe and wholesome. I keep finding dogs that I think are lost, but it turns out that even dogs feel safe walking around alone here.

Sometimes, I walk further. I leave our subdivision and cross into the subdivision that Jeff grew up in. I walk past his old home on the corner and look at the basketball hoop that he played with as a child. I feel sometimes like I have been dropped into Jeff's life. It's a strange thing to say and a strange feeling to have when you've been married for 10 years, but I often feel like everyone else in my family has these roots in this city and I am an outlier. I felt that when I told my kids' teachers that, no, their father attended a nearby school, but their grandfather actually attended this elementary school. "Are you one of the Carr Carrs?" a cashier asked me as she looked at my credit card. I stared maybe a second too long before answering that I was. I can't imagine someone reading my credit card in Virginia and knowing something so personal about me. The cashier in Idaho told me that she sometimes went over to Jeff's grandparents house and played. "It was out in the country back then," she informed me. It isn't now. It is about 3 minutes from our house. I want to tell her that the house is the same. She played on the same orange carpet that my kids sat on and played Pit last week with their 95-year-old great-grandmother.

On my afternoon walk, I almost always stop by and see Jeff's sister. She works downtown in a relaxed office and I come by and borrow her library card a few times a week. I technically have a library card, but even though we've verified our residence, we can only check out two books at a time until we get Idaho driver licenses. I'm not ready for that, so I borrow Amy's card and walk the block to the library. I like the library here. It's bigger than our local one in Virginia, but the one in Virginia was part of a county system so we had access to more books. But the Idaho Falls library serves us just fine. They have lots of large ramps and a koi pond. If he's awake, Ben likes try to get in the ponds and to run up the ramps and yell "I'M RUNNING!" I try to go when he's asleep. Avery has made friends with one of the librarians. They spent a half hour talking about rare fruits and vegtables. It was kind of a boring half hour for me.

That being said, my afternoon walks are probably my favorite. I walk to a bakery and order kolache. I still don't know if I'm saying it right. I ask the owner of the bakery and she always says I'm not, but I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong. I like the owner of the bakery. She was wearing a shirt with the Deathly Hallows on it and she told me that people keep asking her if she's in the Illuminati.I like that I have started to develop relationships with the people I see downtown every day. The employees at the bagel shop we like remember Avery's order as soon as we enter the door. That is different. 

Sometimes on our afternoon walks, we eat lunch with Jeff. This is very different from Virginia. I visited Jeff's work, but only very rarely. Children can go anytime, but adults need passes. I never saw Jeff's desk -- I didn't realize until he quit and brought stuff home from his office that it was covered with Idaho paraphernalia. I guess people weren't completely surprised that he wanted to move back. Anyways, in Idaho, we just stop by his work whenever. I don't like to because the kids will want to stay and play and also because the front desk is always staffed with volunteers that don't always know Jeff by name yet. Some of them are kind of mean. I don't like telling them that I get to go into the museum for free.

My morning walks are cold. I usually walk with my friends Lisa and Krystal. Lisa is the primary president and Krystal is my neighbor. She has a son Adam's age who is in his class. He came over to play a few days ago and I could just cry because I've never had the experience of a kid riding their bike over to ask my kid to play before. We walk around the park and Krystal's dog only seems to like to poop in the road. I point it out almost every time and then I really contemplate about how weird it is that I mentally keep track of where the dog poops and it's probably even weirder that I mention it. Despite this little weird tidbit, I love my morning walks.

My evening walks are cold, too, but the weather hasn't been awful here. People speak in apopleptic terms about the winter, so I know that it'll be hard. One thing I like about Idaho Falls is that even when its cold or windy, the sun is usually out. There is possibly a higher average of overcast days in Virginia, I think. I do think that is the only way that Idaho beats Virginia, weather-wise. But I'm trying to only notice the differences, not grade them.

But I'm failing.

On my evening walks, I miss Virginia. And I get so mad at myself. I walk past huge houses with nice lawns and I find myself missing the rows of townhomes filled with some beautiful tiny lawns and some scraggly tiny lawns that are surely getting threatening letters from the HOA. I think about my neighbors. I see my neighbors in Idaho just as much as I did in Virginia. There are a lot of people in Ashburn who only seem to sleep in their homes. And there are a lot of people in Ashburn who I would see when I got up with babies in the middle of the night, getting up to start their commutes. In Idaho, people seem to be at home more. Our elderly neighbors work on their lawn. They wave when I walk by.

On my evening walks, I am filled with wishes and wants. I miss the humid air at night. I wish I was able to visit the Smithsonian again. I wonder when I'll see fireflies again. I think about people I love. I wish I could tell them that I miss them. I wish our relationships weren't only now likes on Instagram and short text messages. I want to let them know that they mean more to me than that. I've moved more than most people I know. I wish I knew why this move is so hard. I want it to not be hard any more.

"Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want?"  I sing this line from Into The Woods in my head as I walk every night. It is so easy to wish to be back in Virginia. But am I certain that wish is what I really want? Is it what's best for me? For my family? I don't know anymore. 

Do you know what you wish? Step. Are you certain what you wish is what you want? Step.

I let the line crescendo in my head and I start to feel this physical ache that I feel when I am sad but I can't cry. I refuse to cry. How will I ever find my home here if I cry about the home I left every day?  And then I turn, back to the family that loves me, back to the beautiful home that keeps them warm, back to the responsibilities that wait. The ache lessens as I get closer. The song gets softer.

I'll walk again tomorrow.

PS- There are 7 trees at our new house and I love them all.

1 comment:

Madeleine Richardson said...

Beautiful :) I've been a nomad my whole life, but have felt quite "settled" in Washington state...but I know I will have to leave , eventually, and that is so bittersweet; even if it means I get to be with my husband and start a family and be an adult and not just a wandering 20-something year old.