When I hear the term “life expectancy” I generally think, how long am I going to live?

My cousin Theresa and I spent the afternoon together. We stopped and looked at two houses for sale on our way home. I put my face to a glass window so I could see the 70’s shag carpet in what could be a bedroom. My bedroom, if I lived there. Someone had put a Marilyn Monroe picture in the living room. She looked right past me but I looked at her. I wondered what it would be like, to call my co-worker and invite him to play board games in the backyard of this house that belonged to no one. Would he bring a friend? Would anyone catch us? I wondered what it would be like to call up a man I don’t know to occupy the backyard of a place we know even less. I wondered what the rush would be like, in another instance, to wait until my neighbors go out for the evening, and then jump into their pool naked, just to go back over the fence running for my own yard. Home base.

We have a pool, but that isn’t the point.

The imaginary elephant we allow to roam the room is a question. What is important to me? I think some of us get an idea of what we want our future to look like–husband, babies, Netflix, breakfast at midnight. Sex. Drugs. Jesus. Jesus. Jesus. The concept of having the life at all becomes more important than who it’s with. Does the who even matter? Or just the life? Just the house. All the possibilities that live in that backyard. The Mexican beer. The rotting orange tree. The broken gate–maybe somebody crashed their car into it, and that’s why it’s bent like that.

Sometimes people are objects in the life you want. They exist and we love them but they’re still objects. They play a part in the life we want. The life that we want more, than we ever wanted them.

Life expectancy is not how long I suppose I will live. It’s how I expect my life.

One thought on “Elephants

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