This Isn’t the City


I demanded change. Monthly, weekly, daily. Every time I walked through our front door I was convinced our house would fall apart. If I so much as pressed the door closed too tightly, the entire complex rattled. So I told him we had to find a new home. It didn’t matter to me where we were in the city, it just needed to be new.  

Now, I’m finally receiving that change. And to say I’m nervous is an understatement. He hadn’t even shown me the house before he put in the paperwork. I would have fought with him over it, if I wasn’t surprised that he was finally being proactive. On any other subject, he’s immovable. But this finally got through to him. Maybe we were both ready for change. 

We pass by the city limit sign. What? I glance behind us, watching as the city lights disappear around the mountain pass. What? At my sudden movement, our Husky, Meadow, looks up at me. But her gaze doesn’t last long, she’s exhausted. We’d been up all night. 

“This is a joke, right?” I sputter, whipping to glare at him. But he doesn’t even flinch. 

“You wanted change,” he retorts. His dry hands scrape along the steering wheel, sandpaper smoothing my coffin. 

“In the city!” I shout. My heart palpitates in my chest, causing my shoulders to shudder, and then my hands. I need to calm my nerves. Deep breaths. He may be infuriating, but you’ve gone this long without throttling him. Don’t snap now. “I said I wanted change in the city.” He doesn’t answer. 

“Are you even listening to me?” That’s just fuel for the fire. I’m halfway willing to end us both, before he rests his hand on mine. It assuages my rage, but probably not as much as he hopes. 

“Just see it first,” he pleads. His eyes briefly meet mine. They’re comparable to Meadow’s when she’s convinced there’s a walk in her future. “I think you’ll love it.”

“I better,” I grumble, crossing my arms over my chest. He sighs in response, but says nothing more on the subject. That’s so typical of him. How dare he go behind my back and choose a home without my consent. I’m a city girl. He should know that by now.

It’s been almost half an hour since we passed the city limit sign, winding up mountain roads. They bring us almost to the top of the mountain, even if we can still see the city from here. He pulls into a long driveway. The house seems small, but as we inch closer, it expands. A cabin. Two stories. A wide, open porch. There’s even a two-car garage. It looks almost homey. 

He parks the car in front of the garage. At the sudden stop, Meadow begins barking wildly in the backseat. I’m halfway through opening my door when she forces her way between us. Clambering over my lap, she launches herself out of the car. He laughs. 

“Even she loves it already,” he tells me, eyes gleaming with amusement.

“It’s certainly something to behold,” I relent, stepping out of the car myself. He joins me, leading me after Meadow. She’s waiting patiently by the front door, her tail flicking from side to side. So, this already feels like home to her.

He jams the key into the lock, jiggles it with vigor, and then groans. “Damn thing.” Without a word, I slip the key from his hand and try it for myself. The front door glides open. 

“Of course,” he passes me, muttering annoyed words under his breath. He’ll never be able to get used to my fine motor skills, for he really has none. I doubt he could thread a needle if his life depended on it. It sparks a laugh, deep from within. I’m the city girl, but I’ve always been more handy.

We follow Meadow down the hallway, peeking in every empty room. The inside is undeniably beautiful. There’s new flooring, new wall paint, and even new carpet on the stairs. But, because of that, there’s a heavy odor trapped in the air. It’s powerful, but nothing a few open windows can’t solve. 

Meadow continues trotting from the end of the hall, through the dining room, and into the kitchen. While the dining room is gorgeous, the kitchen is nothing short of breath-taking. It has to be three times the size of our last kitchen. 

“How much did you spend on this?” I gasp aloud, my hands drawn to the marble countertop. It’s not brand new, but it’s been so well maintained it may as well be. 

“It was actually cheaper,” he admits, tilting his head at the sink. His eyes wander from the ornate faucet to the ebony-stained cabinets. They’re set against wide, sunny windows. In a kitchen this bright, those dark cabinets are a wonderful contrast. He’s really doing well to convince me.

“What about the bedroom?” I ask. He gestures upwards with his hand, but his eyes are more focused on wandering the room. I’ll leave him to his fascination with the kitchen. 

I whistle for Meadow to escort me up the stairs, and practically burst into the master bedroom. It’s one of two rooms on the second floor. But compared to the other room, our bedroom is enormous. I can’t help the cackle of laughter that erupts out of me. I’ve never had so much space in my entire life. 

Three floor-to-ceiling windows introduce me to a view of the city. From here, it looks like a large town of dollhouses. But the most beautiful aspect of the view is the horizon. The sun is slowly setting behind the mountains, on the far side of the city. I’ve never been more enamored with a place.

I can hear him stomping his way up the stairs, then he’s marching towards me, the hallway creaking beneath him.

“Come here,” I call out, gesturing for him to join me by the window. “Is that not the most beautiful sight you’ve ever seen?” He just nods. 

“I hate to admit it,” I sigh through my nose, “but you’ve convinced me. This is perfect.” I curl my arm around his, and lean my head on his shoulder. I never should have doubted him for a minute. 

“I’m glad you think so,” he says, “I hate it.”