5.28 AM, I’m sitting on my front porch, the air is damp and heavy, it isn’t hot yet, but, it isn’t cool either. 81 degrees already, it never dipped below that last night. It has been a rough, hot summer, and we haven’t even started into August yet.
It has been months since I wrote here, I know that. There was so much in my head that needed to be processed outside of the public eye, hell outside, of any eyes other than my own. I am doing better. My head is closer to straight on than it has been in all these months. I am smiling at 5:30 AM, which is a damn good thing.
Let me tell you about my porch. Last fall when Tony and I were looking for a place, or hell, back to last summer, I looked and looked at every single apartment, house, townhouse, condo, that fell within the area we were willing to live in, and within our price range. The price range alone limited the places to look at to a point. I searched and searched, and had almost settled on an apartment near Tony’s work, when my Dad told me there was a little house on this road about a mile from their house. Someone was just putting a “For Rent” sign up.
I was over here in a flash, got the number, called the landlord, and set up a time to meet her to see the house. When I was here getting the number, I automatically put a huge check on the pro side of our pro/con list because there was a porch.
This porch goes across the entire front of the house and used to be screened in. Unfortunately, my poor landlords had some pretty bad tenants, and the screens were pretty much destroyed, but, it wasn’t the screens that mattered to me. It was the porch itself. I remember houses in Niagara Falls, NY, had porches, our house did and I loved it. Porches, and porch furniture, mean home to me.
I wanted this house, immediately. I met with the landlord, Jennifer, and saw the house. It needed a lot of work, new carpeting, new floor in the laundry room, repainted throughout, on and on, as the tenants she had that ran off, after being a couple months behind, had destroyed the place.
Still, there was something about this house that seemed like home. After I saw the house, talked with Jennifer for a couple hours, I came home and told Tony I wanted this house. Even with it being small, on this busy road, and needing quite a bit of work before we moved in, it felt like home. Nowhere else I had looked ever felt right. Not a single apartment, townhouse, condo, house, nothing felt like it did when I walked into this little house.
We paid our security deposit and rent, signed the lease and it was our home. Now, we’ve been here almost eight months, and my favorite feature of this house is still the porch. My friends all seem to love it, as well, as we have spent a lot of the summer on the porch, talking into the evening like we have for the majority of our friendships.
That is a long time for most of us, as we have been friends for 20, or more, years. In fact, Jo and I have been friends for a full 25 years, since I was 11 and she was 13, and long before marriages, children, illnesses, deaths, and the like had come into the picture.
A lot of our evenings are sitting on the porch talking about our younger days, we were a fairly wild group, some of us wilder than others, but, still a partying bunch. Now, we’re more likely to be drinking a diet soda, than a bottle of Mad Dog 20/20, but, we’re still just as good of friends. We have moved from hanging at one small apartment, then to another house, then only getting together a couple of times a year, until we ended up with places that the expanding group could hang out at.
It the past 7.5 months we have spent a lot of time together, much more than we had in many year’s previous. I don’t know for sure why, if it is because of the porch, the house, having a central place for us all to be, of if losing one of the old group made us all realize how much we missed spending the time together.
We lost Michael on December 16, 2010. Our first get together, after his funeral, was New Year’s Eve. We had a good time, in the house, and on the porch, back and forth, on an evening that was filled with drinking, memories, looking at old pictures, and just the best time we could have 15 days after losing him.
We all vowed, that evening, to see one another more often, to talk more, to connect more. We have held true to that since then, seeing one another, many a Saturday night, on the porch. A couple weekends ago when one of the group who had moved hours from here, finally got her ass back where it belonged and I was sitting in this exact spot, I looked over my gathered friends as they talked. I sent a silent thought up to the heavens, to Michael thanking him for his friendship, and for him showing us that we needed to take care of one another, to see each other, to not be neglectful of our friendships.
To spend the time we can together, as you never know when anything is going to take one of us from the rest. We don’t know if tomorrow, accident, disease, illness, or depression will claim one of us and take us home. We do know that we shouldn’t waste these moments here on earth, that spending time with those you love is more important than so many other things.
The porch has helped that along, helped us keep our vow to one another. It has sheltered us from the rain, kept that damn hot ass sun off our heads, it has helped draw us together.
I love my porch, I miss my friend, but, it is time to look forward. Never forgetting, as you don’t forget the friends you loved, but, looking toward the next stage in our lives, and we’ll discuss it here, on the porch.