I went back to my old place today. I scoured the fridge and ran the oven through its cleaning cycle. I packed up the things I forgot in the front closet, and the laundry room, and the powder room. I made sure the plants were watered, and picked a last handful of the blueberries I planted a couple of years ago. When I came back inside I stood in the spot where the man who loves me and I once sat on my couch after, I think, our third date. I breathed in searching for the scent of the possibility I felt back then. It was there, all right—if not in the air, inside me.
We had a sweet 4th of July, TMWLM and I, wandering the streets of my new town—a mostly Mexican enclave—while the patriotic parading went on elsewhere. Later as we sat at the dinner table, we were mystified by the popping sounds we heard. “Are those swallows pecking at my house?” I asked. It took a minute or two before we realized it was fireworks. A short amble through my neighborhood revealed a spot where we could see the fireworks over the water. We stood with a half-dozen other people, our necks craned to the sky. No traffic jam. No porta-potties. No staking out a spot in the park at dawn. Oh, I’m sure there was a crowd at the heart of it all, but it was beyond lovely to stand in the night on a quiet street with my arms around the person who helped me burst through my darkness.