by Myles Abroad
There's a time to settle, a time to move on.
In the shade of the old chestnut tree, I look down at the dilapidated clapboard house. A shack really. Golden-brown hills roll out beyond as I let out a satisfied breath. Removing my hat, I rake my sweat-drenched hair and smile at my wife.
"What you think?"
Like me, she's transfixed by the view. A pause, and then she stares at me with her penetrating blue eyes.
"We got enough?"
"Yup. It's a steal."
"But, Joe, how the hell's this gonna work. We never sit in one place longer 'an six months."
I drop my gaze, kicking at a thistle. "I know, Carrie, but..."
"How many schools has Meagan been in? Six-seven, and she's only in third grade!"
I sigh, watching our daughter bundle out of the house and race up the hill towards us. "You're right. It's time we put down roots."
"You don't really mean that. It's like your Ma always says, you got itchy feet."
"No, I mean it. I promise. We'll never move again."
Hands on her hips, she studies me until we hear Meagan's approach. Carrie nods, saying, "Okay. I'll hold you to that."
Meagan laughs breathlessly. "Dad, you can see the sky through the roof."
My wife smiles, encircling my waist. "It's perfect, Meagan. Your Dad'll make it right."
"Dad? You okay?"
Meagan's gentle squeeze on my arm interrupts my thoughts, and I gaze into her concerned face. Crow's feet spread at the corners of her eyes. A gentle reminder that time catches up on us all. In the distance, golden hills still roll, dotted with new houses. Under our Chestnut, I bend down, placing a long-stemmed red rose on the freshly turned grave.
"Your Ma was happy here..." My voice falters, and I admit, "I'm sure gonna miss this place."