October 15, 2017 (Sunday)

by Yule Heibel on October 14, 2018

It’s just weird being back here. In so many way, I do not know how I arrived in the first place. Well, in the “first place,” it was a) W. getting a job in Massachusetts; b) starting a family and not being able to find a suitable (and affordable) condo in Cambridge or Boston (as well as not getting that Columbia University post-doctoral fellowship – the year that I apply they only give out one instead of three, and I’m the runner-up…); c) attending that Bradley Method birth class in Holliston, way out in the sticks, where I met R. who had just bought a house here, in B., then going to visit her and kind of falling in love with the built form of the lovely older houses here, the real estate potential (cheap: a beautiful bargain …really?); d) finding the midwife-only run Birth Center here (even while we still lived in Brookline Village)…

In a way, I “arrived here in the first place” because of R., whom I met in birth class. Because I wanted what she had: a beautiful house near the ocean, tons of space, solidity, respectability, …continuity. Did we move back here in 2012 for continuity’s sake? If so, what does the decrepit state of our first house tell me, a house now apparently owned by a slum landlord who lets everything go to rot? Its wraparound porch has literally fallen down; all the paint is peeling; the beautiful garden I designed and planted has turned into a jungle. Does that tell me anything about being “safe as houses”? Or something about how their putative “solidity” is evanescent, and how the sense of safety that a house can bring can turn into …what? Disaster? Every time I walk past it now (luckily I can easily avoid it), I have to wonder.

As for the woman whose presence here whetted my appetite to have what she has? I look at her now (rarely – we don’t socialize) and I see a simulacrum of a person, something artificial, unreal. There’s no complexity there. Our mutual acquaintance from back in the day, V., is another one in that bucket: another woman who acts mysterious, but who only manages to project “mystery” because she’s clearly a total mystery only to herself.

So here we are, in B., lured back in 2012 by Treue and continuity, but brought here initially in 1991 by the mystery and allure of “home,” of the house beautiful. Of solidity and tradition, of a life with roots – and status. How ironic that it was engendered in a way by a confused woman like R.

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