“Chicago is such a beautiful city—the skyline, the lake. D.C. doesn’t have a downtown like that but we love it. You’ll see there’s a lot to do.”

“Actually, I grew up in D.C. but we’ve been away for a number of years.” 

“Really? Well, I would love for us to get together, maybe during the day when the kids start school. I live on this same street but down and around the bend at 8217.”

Why does this woman think I don’t have anything better to do than to sit around and chitchat?  And why is she assuming I don’t work?

The smile twitches but holds as I cross the entryway and stand before the opened double doors. “Thanks, Carmen. I’m sure I’ll be seeing you.”  Carmen heads to the stroller parked in the circular drive and Stacy trails, giggling with Hope about something I missed. I urge Hope to join Hezekiah in whatever he’s doing and I pick up where I left off in the kitchen.

I am working with greater intensity. Funny how a bad attitude helps you sail through a monotonous task. My thoughts are moving in tandem, fast and furious, assuring me that I really am unhappy in this fabulous new home. But I know it’s not the home that’s truly bothering me.

In truth (and I would never admit this to Hezekiah), buying a home in Prince George’s County turned out to be the best part of this deal. The building process kept me intensely occupied, which meant less time to stew over the relocation itself. Hezekiah knew that I enjoyed decorating and would throw myself into the building of a home. He also knew that such immersion would be to his benefit, so he stepped completely out of the way and let me have at it.

I loved every minute. I loved making tough choices about layout and fun choices between hardwoods, granites, and stone. I loved picking appliances, searching like crazy for the right indoor and outdoor lighting, and even for the little knobs and pulls on the cabinet doors and drawers. I began to think maybe Hezekiah’s prayers were being answered, that I was feeling more at peace with the move.

I say “Hezekiah’s prayers” because the only prayer I was praying was to remain in Chicago. Even while my nose was buried in the building project, I made enough snippy comments to let Hezekiah know that I was proceeding under general protest and would have no problem chucking the whole thing and staying put. In the low moments, though, the builder would send digital pictures of the progress and I would grow excited about seeing the finished work.

One month ago we flew in for a walk-through of the completed home and were awestruck by what the builder had done. On that same visit, I met with an interior designer to implement the vision I have for the rooms and various spaces around the home. As instructed, I’ve already compiled notes and pictures of ideas in a nice little three-ring binder for our appointment in a couple of weeks. I’ve been greatly looking forward to that. I had the heated swimming pool filled a few days ago and lively colors applied to the builder’s off-white walls. The Jacuzzi was made ready as well, and I was looking forward to snuggling in it with Hezekiah, maybe as early as tonight.

But whatever peace I had managed to find fled last night as I did a final walk around our empty Evanston home. All of the turmoil I had originally felt, the turmoil that had gurgled and bubbled for months, boiled over and handily engulfed me. Everything was wrong. Everything.

I couldn’t believe I was actually leaving an associate position at Thompson & Klein in downtown Chicago. I could see the clouds from that office, the realization of my dreams. I could see future high-stakes litigation that would catapult me to higher echelons. I could see the federal bench from which I would one day rule. I could see the people before whom I would stand, graciously of course, with a fantastic, overwhelming, soul-satisfying smile of success that would say, “I told you so.”