I live at the end of a quiet street in a neighborhood that is like a tiny microcosm of wacky, wonderful Durham:
my neighbors are African-American, Hispanic, and White; liberal grad students and well-to-do lesbian couples; conservative, gossipy old ladies on pensions and hard-working men with construction jobs.Â It is a safe, cheerful neighborhood, where my child can meet friends after school to play together on the swings in the park, or ride bikes around the block.
Weâ€™re walking distance from the elementary school and the park, and a day-trip away from the beach in one direction and the mountains in the other.
My little brick house almost always has the front door open.Â Friends pop in; neighborhood kids drop by to ask for help with homework. Even though I don’t have a child yet, somehow the house is always awash in waves of crayons, little misplaced socks, young adult novels and kidsâ€™ picture books, boxes of raisins and boxes of juice.
My refrigerator is covered in kids’ drawings.Â Thereâ€™s a tree in the backyard for climbing and a creek around the corner for adventures.Â But my Christmas tree never looks right to me â€“ there are empty branches where those little plaster handprint ornaments should be.Â Someone is missing.