I've been spending time in my hometown lately, because of the research on my book. Most of the time I'm on the upper level of the library, reading and taking notes. And sneezing. A lot. Those old newspapers are dusty.
Yesterday though, as I was driving through town, I decided to take another road home. The road was the one I used to live on.
There, I saw the house that used to be mine.
It was different. The new owners have added a beautiful brown siding (oddly, the same color as my house). They have taken the entire deck off the back of the house and added huge bay windows in the front. They have extended the side of the house by probably fifteen to twenty feet.
It's a beautiful house now.
A house for a family. A real family.
I thought I might feel sad by seeing it, but I didn't. Oddly, it didn't feel sad at all. It felt...okay.
I didn't feel afraid.
It's not my house anymore.
It's not my life now.
I drove on further and came across the house that my ex-boyfriend lives in (Yes, my ex-boyfriend bought a house and lived on the same street as I lived with my first husband. I know). His house was in disarray. It looked like it was falling down around them.
Oddly enough, he was standing outside the house. At the front porch. It looked like he was maybe hanging a door.
It didn't feel weird or strange.
It's not my life now.
I had a lot of mixed feelings about writing a book about my hometown. I haven't lived there in ten years. My ex-husband still lives there (as far as I know...I haven't heard from him in nine years or so). He doesn't know where I live. I don't want him to know where I live.
But I'm not afraid now.
I'm just a writer. Just a writer who is writing a book.
What's there is not my life now.
I drove the two hours back to my little house in Knoxville. With my little children and my big husband and my ginormous puppy. I drove familiar streets and shopped at my same grocery store. I picked my children up at Tae Kwon Do. My husband came home. We had dinner. We sat on the porch swing and talked until it was dark.
The same things we do every night.
Because this is my life now. This man, these children, this world.
This is my life.