Day Seventeen, Wednesday
Morgan was on her hands and knees in the front yard pulling weeds out of the border around the lawn when Nancy and the kids pulled in to their driveway. Nancy unlocked the house door for the kids, shooed them inside and walked across the street.
“I am so tired, today. I could hardly think straight at work,” Nancy said.
“You have a lot on your mind. Let’s go sit on the porch steps.” Morgan brushed the dirt off of her knees. “Would you like some ice tea or lemonade?”
“Oh, thanks, no. I have to get back to the house. Just wanted to chat a minute. I really appreciate your cleaning. It is such a help to come home to a clean house and not feel completely overwhelmed as I walk in the front door.”
“No problem. I enjoy it. I have the opposite problem, needing something to do. So it helps me out, too. And Joey is hilarious. Not too helpful, but right there to keep me company. To make me laugh.”
“Yes, she is good at that. She has the kids in hysterics half the time with her antics."
“I do like to hear them laugh and play. I will miss the life you bring to the neighborhood.”
“Don’t mention moving. I can’t even think about it yet.”
“Sorry,” said Morgan.
Nancy asked, “Morgan, if you don’t mind me asking, I don’t mean to intrude. I’ve noticed you still wear your ring. What happened? Why are you alone now?”
Morgan brushed more dirt off her hands, rubbed a mud smudge off her thumb. “Tom, my husband, he left.”
“I’m sorry. Very sorry.”
“When he told me he was leaving, he also told me he sold the house. I didn't even know. I had to leave, move. We’re not divorced. That will have to be his call.”
“Do you think he might ever come back to you? Would you want that?”
“I don’t know. I think about it. Wonder what it would be like. I do know that forgiveness is always, always a better choice than revenge and bitterness.” She rubbed more dirt off her jeans, dusted off her hands. “But blame does rear its ugly head. And anger. And resentment.”
“But he is to blame,” said Nancy.
A chilly breeze drifted leaves across the yard. Morgan reached up to push aside wisps of hair and left a dirt mark on her cheek. “Yes, and no. Any marriage is about two people. Both are always part of any problem. Blame never falls fully on one person. We both had faults. But I realized, as I was packing up what was our home, that it wasn’t location that made a home. No matter what the realtors say," she added. "It was heart. My heart. My part. My memories of them, but of me, too, who I am. You build a home with your heart. Your soul. I had to deal with my heart. All that goes with you, no matter where you live. Like with you, Nancy. You are doing a beautiful job with those kids. They love you, they are happy, and they are happy together. Wherever you are.”
At that moment, Johnny opened the door and hollered across the street, “Mom, Sarah won’t let me turn on the Wii!”
Sarah stuck her head out, next to his. “He didn’t put the dishes away like you told him to.” Johnny flinched as she yelled right next to his ear. He elbowed her in the side and ducked back inside, sheepish.
“Well, guess I had better go rally the troops. I like what you said about the heart. It helps me put things in perspective. We haven’t known each other very long, but you are a good friend.”
“It felt good to talk about it. Thank you.”