The signs of a new beginning…they were everywhere!
“NAH SON, this ain’t gonna work,” I recall blurting out staring at what can only be described as “the hellish hill.”
As we idled in front of the hill, Marc suddenly decided to boldly navigate our vehicle to the top of the driveway to get a closer look. With little time for me to react, he started up the slope, while Journey and I nervously grabbed whatever we could hold onto!
We reached the peak in no time slowing to a stop on top of a nice and spacious flat landing with the sound of rocks crunching under the weight of the tires.
“Ohhhh, who woulda thought all of this was up here,” I observed.
We got out of the car marveling at the unique design features of the house while taking in the hardscapes and most importantly, the beautiful front porch that quickly became the focal point of our surroundings.
Seeeeee?!” Marc said, cheesing from ear-to-ear.
“OK, great find Marc, let’s call the realtor,” I exclaimed, knowing that despite that wicked hill lay a home that was definitely worth further investigation.
Two days later, Sandy, our real estate agent took us on a tour of the house. I felt an immediate connection as each room hinted at the future potential of creating many family memories. We decided to take some time to seriously contemplate taking the leap and making this place ours.
Several days later, Marc and I found ourselves parked outside of the house once again; and this time, we were daring each other to drive up the hill, uninvited and without the safety of our realtor. We knew the house was uninhabited, but that did not mean that no one was home or would be visiting the house, as we had a few days earlier. We found ourselves nervously traipsing up the gargantuan hill to get another gander, and were relieved when we found no other car parked at the top. No sooner had our feet stepped out onto the gravel lot, we heard the sound of an engine roaring up the hill!
“$h!%,” I recalled thinking. “Busted!”
With nowhere to go or to hide, we silently prepared our excuses, figuring we’d have some explaining to do. I would be remiss if I didn’t interject here that for many people of color, being in scenarios such as this can cause a great degree of angst because you never know which way an unplanned confrontation may go. Particularly, if all of the I’s aren’t dotted and T’s crossed. In this nation, with its ideals that don’t always lean toward equity and fair-play, we often feel as if we must be hyper-vigilant and mindful of the situations we place ourselves in. Although the house was for sale and we weren’t technically trespassing, we still felt as if we were.
Zooming up the hill and coming to a parking stop just past us, was a small gray hatchback with a single male occupant. TIny alarms began buzzing in my head as an uneasy feeling crept up my spine as I tried to predict whether or not this impending interaction was about to go sideways.
One of the first things that we noticed was the medley of bumper stickers covering the posterior of the compact sedan.
The most reassuring tag that our immediately caught my eye and helped to set my mind at ease, was obviously the one that read “Black Lives Matter!” Recall now, that this was back in September 2019, prior to the mainstream use of the terms “ally” and “anti-racist” becoming a widely used and accepted part of the vernacular that we use today.
Quickly running a scan of the rest of the decals yielded a quote by Alexander Hamilton, one that read, Boston College, and a third that clearly stated, “Not My President.” As far as the Alexander Hamilton sticker goes, I can’t recollect which the exact quote printed on the bumper sticker, but I remember that it resonated with us, because our eldest daughter Marley, was all about the musical, Hamilton, last year. She had nearly every word to every song memorized and spent her free time bounding throughout the house with her headphones on with the volume cranked listening to those show tunes. To also see the other two, “Not my president” and “Boston College,” we felt somewhat of an immediate connection to whoever was about to disembark from that vehicle.
Oh, the signs!
A smiling face presented itself from the car and the good-natured gentlemen greeted us enthusiastically. Pleasantries exchanged, we found ourselves staring at the current homeowner, who had put the house up for sale. We explained that we had visited the house a couple of days earlier with our realtor and that our aim was to take in the scenery and view the grounds again. Without hesitation, he offered us something even better, a private tour of the home, and he gave us leeway to stay as long as needed while he commenced to drag out the mower to cut the lawn. From this fellow, we also obtained a lot of knowledge and history about the house along with a view of some of the other little known features that weren’t a part of the main tour – things only serious enquirers had access to.
After spending nearly an hour probing and exploring the house, leaving no stone unturned, we could easily envision ourselves turning this house into our forever home and happily raising our family here. Feeling symbolically wrapped in a cozy blanket by his warm cheerful greeting, his open attitude, and willingness to share with us the particulars of the house, we left feeling a sense of knowing. Our hearts were filled with gratitude, and that “hellacious hill” looked more like a molehill, no longer looming as an immense obstacle, but more of a conquerable knoll.
The signs of a new beginning…yes, the SIGNS were everywhere, beckoning us home; and we heeded the call.
HOUSE NUMBER 2! And so it is…Ashe!
The Signs of a New Beginning by Rachael Boston //