The house diagonally across the corner — what my mother called “Catty-Corner” — has a couple with two children and a springy young black lab who was galloping wildly up the street, prancing like a playful pony. In their window, we could still just see their eight-foot Christmas tree, harvested up on the mountain, and still lit up.
“You know,” Adrienne said. “I’ve been wondering what it would be like to be their kid.”
She saw my surprised expression, and went on.
“I know that sounds wierd,” she said, “to be my age, and wonder what it would be like to be their kid, when they’re younger than us. But I do.” She had a faraway, wistful look on her face. “I think it would be nice. To have a house like that, and that dog, and those parents, and live in this place.”
I said nothing. Sure enough, she went on.
“I guess I’ve been feeling lonely,” she said, “and I’ve been missing our life back in Marin.”
“What?” I said, because this place is lots nicer than where we lived before. She nodded.
“Well, I don’t miss the life we had,” she said. “I miss the life we didn’t have. The life like my millionaire clients who lived in mansions in Ross, with pool men and gardeners, and vacations in Italy.”
I gazed at her in stupification.
“Yep,” she said. “I miss that life, there in Marin, that life which we never had.”
The odd thing was, I knew exactly what she meant.