I am sitting on a couch I like, in the home I love. I have loved this place for thirty years. Can one love a house, a home, a place? This is the house that I had offered to rent for a month to neighbor-friends almost exactly one year ago. They were going to sell their house and begin to adventure across the states. I own two places. One on an island, where they were my neighbor-friends and one in the Rockies. They wanted to kick-off their fantasy adventure with an entire month backpacking in the mountains. They knew I had a Colorado home that I occasionally rented to select guests. We emailed one another about the possibilities. It never happened. They thought it would expend too much of their allocated travel budget. I’d occasionally see them around the neighborhood and we would exchange warm greetings. I didn’t see them at the annual neighborhood holiday party. I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer. I saw them walking up from the beach a few months ago. I barely recognized him. We stopped and chatted briefly. She sounded optimistic, he only smiled. I felt deeply concerned for them. I wished them well.
Last night, after a magical day that ended with picking and eating wild currants in the flower-filled woods, I checked my email. One made me cry. It was from my neighborhood association. It contained a tribute to Patrick. In less than one calendar year, he had died. I re-read our email exchanges. They were dated August 2014.They never sold their house. They never took their trip. They would have loved this place. Now, I wish I had just told them it was free. Too late.