Ernst and Esme decided it was time to find a place to belong.
“What kind of place?” Ernst asked.
“I’ve always liked a big old-fashioned house,” said Esme. And, before long they found one.
The gable-house perched on a hill in a grand old style.
It came with trees in the backyard that would bear fruit.
The two were very excited.
Almost immediately, Ernst mentioned, “Have you noticed how slow the internet is here?”
“Oh, no, dear!” Esme hemmed.
“More time for picnics?”
They invited all their friends to a house painting party and celebrated the big move with a housewarming.
They bought baby chicks and built a pen for them. Soon, hens would be laying eggs.
Before long, Ernst and Esme’s fruit trees were laden with reds, yellows, dark greens, and oranges.
“What in the world are we going to do with all of this produce?” Esme said.
“Let’s make pies! Lots, and lots of pies for everyone!” Ernst suggested. “We can sell them at the crossroads.”
“By, the way, have you noticed the web of worms?”
“Eww! Dear, I hate worms.” Esme groaned. “Really?”
Fruit began to fall. The orbs rose in fragrant piles. The piles began to ferment. Fermenting fumes rose to their nostrils.
When Esme’s ire also rose, her voice peaked.
“Why does a nice orchard have to come with all those swarming little fruit flies?”
“I’m too tired to work and then clean up this fallen fruit every day, babe.” Esme pursed her lips.
Ernst piped in, not to be outdone. “The rooster’s crowing at four a.m. is kinda driving me crazy.”
He exaggerated just a little bit to get the point across.
Maybe this house, with all of this land, is too big for the two of us,” said Esme, sighing.
Before long, Esme found a home in the city. There was a shimmering rooftop pool.
The commute to work would be five minutes!
A man was lounging beside the pool with his girlfriend in her bikini. Ernst and Esme looked past the sparkling water and over the railings to the sidewalk far, far below. Their flesh tingled.
Making plans with friends in the bustling nightlife, and walking to sports arenas and trips to the mall, all this kept their days happy and bright. Except “bright” became slightly overwhelming when, on game nights, the stadium lights poured through their windows.
Of course, taking an elevator up to their apartment seemed slightly industrial, and moving guests to-and-fro via an elevator was less than ideal even though the walls were padded.
“I wish we had just one extra room for visitors,” said Esme looking around. “That’s the only thing.”
Actually, they found another thing. It was when they swung their legs over their bikes and headed towards the bike path. Horns honked, “Move-it! Move-it!”
They forgot to look before turning left. Screeching tires startled them. More horns, smelly exhaust, and revving trucks stalked them.
“Cycling is not as fun as I thought it would be,” said Ernst.
“Dear, let’s go to a movie instead,” suggested Esme.
They locked up their bikes and went into a cool theater.
But, when they exited, Ernst’s padlock had been hacked, and his bicycle was missing.
“You go ahead,” said Ernst. “I’ll catch up on foot.” But Esme refused.
She didn’t want to separate from Ernst in the big city. It was a long way to walk home in the disappointment.
“I’m not sure I like city life,” Ernst said upon arrival at their doorstep. “One of us is going to get hurt.” He rubbed his feet. “Do you have blisters too?”
Esme laid her head on his shoulder. “Let’s move.”
Before long, the couple found a town that seemed ideal. The bungalow’s classic trim was darling.
Not too many steps.
They set up their library and looked forward to cozy evenings reading together.
At first there was sheer quiet, no noise, but in the wee hours of morning, a train hooted and hollered from the railroad tracks from only a mile away. Both awoke.
“Dear!” Esme moaned. Ernst and Esme’s heads plopped back on their pillows and they stared at the scalloped ceiling in their bedroom, wondering.
But they stuck it out.
Esme learned that her favorite food, a variety of pie, was being served in a cafe on main street.
She began the habit of walking to the coffee shop where she could help market, and sample, her neighbor’s home baked pies from an internet café table.
“Wish I’d had a pie baking partner a couple of years back,” she said.
Ernst also found a job in their new town.
Every day after work, they walked down to main street to order from one menu or another.
“Do you think the water here tastes slightly like mud?” mentioned Ernst. “Maybe they need a new water purification plant in this county."
“Dear! Tax hikes!” Esme slapped the table and spilled her drink.
“I sort of miss home-cooked food,” Ernst told Esme one day. “All of this going out to eat has made me gain fifteen pounds, and just look at you!” Ernst squeezed the rolls on Esme’s hips.
“What?!” Esme pulled her husband’s hands from her body.
She sucked in her gut. You were the one who wanted to move here.
“Have you made any friends?”
“Me either. Is it my waistline?”
Ernst pulled Esme to the picture window. “See our mistake, babe? It’s election season. Notice our neighbors have signs in their yards that oppose ours?”
Ernst ran his fingers through his hair. “We should’ve checked the gerrymandering map before election season.”
“We may as well move…”
“To the country!” Ernst suggested
finishing Esme’s sentence.
Before long, Ernst and Esme followed their new realtor to a fine brick house situated on a wide prairie. A cattle fence surrounded their acres of land. The neighbors were mere dots on the horizon.
“It needs a lot of work.” Ernst kicked at the debris.
“I’ll get my girly figure back.” Esme sauntered up to her husband. “Not a restaurant around.”
“Not even pizza delivery?” Ernst peered out the window.