Window to Our World

He told me he found it.

He said it wouldn’t last.

He said it was a deal.

He said it had everything we wanted.

He said it was right for us.

We turned off Belmont Avenue on to a one-way street headed south. The street was foreign to me and I wouldn’t have known it was there if I was the one driving. Nestled against the train tracks it was a narrow street and cars lined the left side of it. One stop sign. Then a second stop sign. And then we turned right on another one-way street headed west. Not exactly convenient but quiet. Cars lined both sides of the street. Were we still in the city? Where was the noise? Then we heard it. The Metra train whizzing by carrying commuters home to the suburbs heading north reminding me that yes, we were still in the city.

The street was lined with beautiful houses. Most of them were new, all brick, two stories with new windows, beautiful fences, and manicured city lawns.

We pulled up. I took in a deep breath and took another deep breath out. It was damp and rainy. I shivered as I got out of the car. The sky was gray, dark charcoal gray and the wind blew and the cool wind reminded me that spring was still not here. My brain kept saying, the gray of the sky matches the gray of the siding.

Not brick, no new windows, a rickety wrought iron fence that didn’t shut, and lawn full of water from gutters neglected all winter and that refused to drain.

We walked up the steps, my stomach ever so slightly showing the bump I that had hid for 20 weeks, and he pushed open the front door. There was wood, dark, ornate wood. Crown molding thick with detail and baseboards aged so deeply that you knew it had never been replaced. There were hardwood floors and the sunlight streamed through the dirty blinds. There was dust on every surface; so thick you could see the particles floating in the light.

We approached the bathroom. It was maroon. Completely maroon. From the sink to the toilet to the tub the only color I saw was maroon. As we moved past it, he reminded me to keep an open mind and that we will renovate.

I shuffled in to the kitchen where the white ceramic tile overwhelmed the space. Grease so thick only a razor we get it off where it had settled on every maple cabinet. The appliances were old, white and looked worn out and tired from years of use and clear neglect.

Out the back window, I saw a structure. Gray peeling paint with a hint of wood underneath. Three hanging flower pots all uneven on their stands, all ready to fall to the ground and shatter underneath the two old windows that once were opened daily in the carriage house.

The tree consumed the back yard. Large, overgrown branches towered over the cable lines and hung into the neighbor’s yard on both sides of the lot.

He asks me what I think. Without hesitating I say it is not perfect but this it.

It’s our home.


Where babies were born, demolition was done and love is the constant emotion. It’s our home. Ugly to the original eye yet now beautifully understated amongst the towering homes on our street but loved and ours. Home.