View from the Crossroads
An Opossum, two senior centers and the promise of better days ahead.
Inside our apartment, my children share a large bedroom which looks out over a manicured lawn, a still-busy road and the parking lot. During quarantine, they have been able to track evidence of the world's continued motion from the safety of their room. It's peaceful how headlights and street lamps blur through droplets of rain on the windowpane sometimes at night.
When I'm returning home from taking out trash, checking mail, or doing a supply run, I also love looking up and seeing their window glowing. Inside, blue lights hang down from their ceiling like sparkly icicles or blue roses on a magical vine. Outside, their room looks like a beacon broadcasting a signal of hope and happiness out into the world.
Meanwhile, my room is small and looks out over the the back of our apartment complex. Through it now, I see a tall pine tree which I think of as our protector and a semi-permeable hedge of huge crape myrtle trees not yet in bloom.
At the base of the trees, squirrels constantly hop about, and, once, I watched as an opossum stood upright, lifted one leg and urinated! By the time I'd fetched my phone to snap a picture, the opossum was gone, the image of it etched into my mind as a funny symbol of both awkwardness and majesty.
Sometimes, it's humans that I see walking past on their way to and from the gas station on the corner, or on their way up the back steps to the porch I share with my neighbor. Since quarantine, I've stopped using the front entrance because that means sharing a door handle with the four families in my building. Instead, I've come in and out the back. I've also insisted visitors meet me there to drop off supplies or to enjoy socially distanced social time.
Through the crape myrtle trees, I can see the outline of the old senior living center I visited during high school with the community service club. During quarantine, I have looked out my window to see ambulances pulling up with lights blinking and sirens blazing only to pull away in silence. I imagine them returning to the hospital.
Less than a mile away, the hospital provided a workplace for my mother most of the years of my childhood, a warm safe haven for me during the infamous snow storm of 1993 and a place for me to recover after my liver failed and almost took my life the year I graduated from college.
My room today overlooks a crossroads where the four-lane highway outside my window splits in four directions.
One direction goes to the hospital. Another to the neighborhood where I lived during childhood. Another to the new senior living center being built right now beside a quarry lake.
The actress Shailene Woodley once shot scenes for the Divergent Series at the quarry. Now, my maternal grandfather, the patriarch of my southern family, plans to move there soon.
I want him to feel peace and comfort in his new home. I also have a complicated relationship with his legacy, and the post-pandemic world I envision for my children and myself does not center on our connection to my past.
Rather the focus is on overcoming a cycle of codependency, embracing creativity and being a voice for social justice. Most importantly, I want to experience the magic of my intuition and my effort joining forces to provide a healthier and wealthier life for my kids and me, lived on our own terms as we navigate our neurological divergence and my diagnosis of cancer.
As a result, it's the fourth direction which most excites me when I look through my window toward the crossroads. This direction simply extends outward--beyond a traffic light, toward the horizon. I imagine approaching it one day when the light is green and then driving home to the future.