For one year, in college, I lived in a small, two bedroom apartment with three other girls on a tiny dead end street right off of South Temple in downtown Salt Lake City.
South Temple was a busy street with multiple bus routes that would take me to school, or work, or home to do laundry. My side of South Temple was filled with small apartment buildings or converted duplexes, but the north side of South Temple was full of glorious houses: large and old fashioned brick homes, renovated but full of charm, perfectly landscaped under enormous trees that must have been planted by the first settlers to the valley.
My favorite house had a large front porch and gorgeous wood-trimmed windows. On the second floor, right above the porch, was a big balcony with a small table and set of chairs, red potted flowers, and beautiful French doors that opened up into what must have been the master bedroom.
During September, those French doors would be open in the early morning as I waited for the bus, and I would try to imagine who lived here, what their lives were like. There would be just a hint of cold in the air and I enviously imagined some wealthy woman who was able to snuggle under the covers and enjoy the crisp weather that floated in from her open balcony, while listening to songbirds. Perhaps she was canoodling with a man she loved, someone who loved her in return. This was almost unfathomable to my twenty year old self. I had been in love a few times and occasionally guys had shown interest in me, but never had the two situations happened simultaneously. The whole idea of reciprocated love and attraction felt like a difficult math problem with no possible solution.
As the September days passed I was filled with even more jealousy towards this fictitious woman in the magazine cover worthy home. She wasn’t lonely. She didn’t have to get up to serve hashbrowns and egg McMuffins at the local McDonald’s. She didn’t have to carry a heavy backpack up the canyon to make a 7:45 English class.
And I vowed to myself that one chilly September day I, too, would sleep in past eight o’clock in the morning (an unheard of luxury with my academic and work schedule), with my windows wide open to let in the cool autumn air, next to someone who loved me as I loved them.
This morning, I’d like to report, that this dream has been gloriously fulfilled.
The weather was perfect: slightly overcast with just a bit of chill. It was the perfect weather that makes you think of your favorite sweaters and long sleeved shirts, while still promising sunshine later in the day.
While laying under my covers listening to the sounds of my chickens, I was soon joined by my youngest daughter who might grow up one day to compete on the Olympic Snuggling team. (Seriously, that seven year old has got intense snuggling skills.)
There was no where we had to be, nothing pressing that had to be accomplished before nine o’clock so we just laid there, nestled among half a dozen pillows, feeling the whispers of autumn all around us. Schedules didn’t matter. Math lessons weren’t important. Breakfast seemed overrated.
My long held dream, almost twenty years in the making, was finally realized, but in a slightly different manner than I had once fantasized.
While there is no balcony off my bedroom with French doors and red potted plants, I did have two open windows that let in all that early fall deliciousness. Instead of songbirds singing, I got to listen to my chickens grousing about and complaining that no one had brought them treats. I was not in the arms of my lover, but I held in my arms his daughter.
It was an absolutely perfect morning.
Now I think back to that mysterious woman I created in my mind, whom I envied so much, and feel sorry for her. For her chicken-less existence, for her childless bed, for her perfectly decorated and beautiful house that never looked as lived in and loved as my cluttered, suburban home does.
And it strikes me, as I write this, that I have been living the dream. For fifteen years, this fall, I have lived the dream. But it is only this morning that I have finally realized that.