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  • When we arrived here, things between us were rough. Jagged edges that used to fit together. It felt a little like an escape; leaving behind monotony and negativity and a bad economy, looking for a little hope.

    We started to find it in an old brick house. Still tied to a life halfway across the country, we are stretched like threadbare cloth farther and farther from what we left. Every so often, a tiny string breaks. Ping! And we are closer to here. Closer to a life which we can see actually can be. A dozen and a half years in this house, bringing it and ourselves to all of it's potential, then the rest of our lives somewhere quiet and small. Maybe with a brook running past the house, or an orchard, or a view of the mountains.

    This is a year of tying up loose ends. Paying off bills, making plans, selling our first home -- which sits heartbreakingly empty save for occasional visits by realtors who email us and tell us how terrible it is. (This used to anger me, and I would point out the beautiful plantings, woodwork, and tile. Often that was met with comments on the location, noise, and neighbors. Now I keep quiet.)

    But here, today, we can see the possibilities of this house and this town. We are re-landscaping the yard. We are making plans to build cabinets in the kitchen, to buy a cheap dishwasher and too-expensive stove. We are hanging pictures. We are learning about tuckpointing and copper pipes.

    We have been breaking out concrete; hoping to turn our driveway into a garden. It is something we have to work together on. I pry and lift the slabs while he strikes it with a sledgehammer. It really is stunning concrete. We have broken two sledgehammers. We have been hopeful, we have been defeated, we have kept hitting it for no reason. We have started laughing. We have spent many, many hours on this. We have little unspoken competitions when throwing the 5 inch thick slabs by their jagged edges into piles, trying to break them from the impact of their fall. In a weird way, I think things like this bring us closer. Perhaps by force, but always led with hope.

    When we were married four years ago by the sea, a friend of ours told us that a marriage was like an ocean; ebbs and flows, and constantly changing weather. At the time I thought she was being quaint, but now I see the truth in her words. And sometimes it takes a major change to break everything down and bring you closer together. We are still exhausted; perhaps more so now with our tiny daughter racing through the house, and the slabs of concrete piling up in the yard, but we can suddenly see what can be, and are working together to see that life come into being for both of us.
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