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  • Last week my partner and I found out that they’re building a Wal-Mart next door to our house. We live in a small neighborhood that was built next to an enormous field 10 years ago. The field wasn't ours, but we used it. We walked the dogs there, watched the mockingbirds that nested in the trees, flew kites, and enjoyed the quiet and sense of solitude that being next to unfenced trees and grass engenders. Our neighborhood is a nice mix of families with kids and without, young and old people, and people of different ethnicities. People run and ride bikes. They barbeque. Kids play in wading pools and shoot hoops. It's a quiet place.

    We always knew that someday something would be built in the field. I thought it would be houses, another neighborhood, or perhaps small shops. Instead we now know it'll be a noisy, busy store, a store that I despise.

    Ever since we found out we've been angry, with the situation and occasionally with each other. My partner has started pressuring me to immediately put this house up for sale (at a big financial loss), to start house-hunting, to jump. I've been bargaining with the future, telling myself it might not be so bad, that they might build at the other end of the field, that we should wait and see.

    And all of the things about this place that have made me so happy - the improvements, the work we've done in the yard, the deck we built - now seem hollow, pointless. This was going to be a big summer for us - redo the floors, paint, plant a garden.

    A friend of mine said we're grieving and it's true. It feels like the death of all of this, and I'm unsure what comes next.
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