Thursday, August 13, 2009

my neighbor

“The next time you go to Ikea, may I come with you?”

That’s what I want to ask her. Every time I’m at her house (which is weekly, since we hold choir practice there), she has a new decoration procured from the stylish Swedish superstore. Her house could easily be the model Ikea house, which to some might seem rather loud and obnoxiously colorful, but she makes no apologies, and this is why I love her. My nieces call it the “mustard house” because it is painted mustard yellow on the outside, coupled with some charcoal-colored siding. She fills the yard with flowers: tulips by the hundreds in the spring, rose bushes, irises, Indian paintbrushes. Inside the house are deep reds, ocean blues, black leather, and more mustard. The floors are dark wood draped with colorful rugs. There are art prints and (her own) photographs on the walls. She is an excellent photographer.

It’s not the way she looks that draws me to her. She’s tall and plump. (She could stand to lose 30 or 40 pounds, but why?) Her teeth are crooked and her blue eyes are small and her nose is big. She hails from the desert state of Wyoming—a fact that is neither romantic nor exotic. She drives a plain, old blue minivan. She adorns herself much like she decorates, with handmade skirts from the whimsical fabric that nobody else would buy. She makes her own purses. There is no pigeonhole where she neatly fits.

I have written before that I have wished to be her child. She has three handsome boys—all well-behaved, all musically-gifted, all charmingly masculine like their father, and all undoubtedly and unabashedly loved. I wonder what it would be like to live there in that house, where no one ever seems to get angry or depressed, where voices are calm and soothing, where meals are prepared together and eaten by candlelight. I realize I wander about in an alternate reality. No family is without their problems and challenges. Okay, maybe I don’t what to live there, exactly. But I want to go with her to Ikea.


  1. Holy cow, ALEX - even your boring blog posts about your NEIGHBORS are written like a book (that's a compliment though you can't tell). I am so impressed (and jealous).
    - J

  2. You can go with me to Ikea, it's a vacation destination in itself! I love it...however, I am not as excentric as it seems your model mother next door is! :)


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