Setting up housekeeping from scratch is something you do once, maybe twice in a lifetime, usually when you’re young and find that sort of thing exciting.
When you’re middle-aged and stressed and have to figure out how every last item you buy is going to get transported to an island fifteen hundred miles away, it’s just a pain.
Still, we soldiered on.
Michael became obsessed with the website of Linens ‘N Things (a company now defunct, as you probably know).
As one of the only U.S. purveyors of household items willing to ship to Puerto Rico, LNT became our favorite cyberstore. We ordered forty-two items the first week.
Speaking of Daniel, he called in early January and asked if he could get a few projects going—shoring up the terrace columns on the bottom level, gutting the downstairs bathroom, building two sets of concrete steps to replace crumbling stoops in the side yard.
He seemed almost giddy.
Yes, of course, Michael told him, surprised by the rare note of enthusiasm in his voice.
Clearly the boxes from Sears hadn’t arrived yet.
We thought about Vieques a lot. I propped a framed photo of the exterior of the house next to my office computer and stared at it with more ardor than I’ve ever stared at a picture of a loved one.
I was definitely a goner.
Our lives thrummed along at their usual pace—but with a slight upbeat. We went to work, made dinner, got together with friends. But thoughts of Vieques crept into everything we did, adding an unexpected zing to our little world.
Sometimes we wondered what we had dreamed about before the island came along.
We wondered how we had imagined ourselves in old age–because now we had a very clear image of ourselves in our twilight years.
Michael: puttering around in the garden, mumbling to himself, weed-whacking everything in sight.
Me: sitting on the balcony clutching a martini in my gnarled hand, mumbling to myself, gazing wistfully out to sea.
And although I have no illusions about old age, part of me can’t wait.