…is standing outside her perfect home, framed in her perfect garden, with her perfectly pregnant belly perfectly spaced to arrive two years after her perfectly beautiful small son. She is standing over her compost bin, handmade by her perfect husband—like everything else around the house—looking perfect in her sweats and ponytail.
As I walk by with my dog, I tell the perfect woman that her home is beautiful—that it makes me happy every time I walk past it. She looks up at me, startled, and smiles. As I turn the corner, I burst into tears. I have broken open my envy into the truth: I am uplifted every time I imagine that something resembling the life I wanted is happening inside this house. Someone should have that life I didn’t get to have, and why not the perfect people in the perfect house?
Of course, I know that nothing is ever how it looks from the outside, and I know nothing about these people beyond appearances. They are simply a mirror of the story I once hoped to make of my life. In fact, I also have a beautiful home and could once have been confused for having a perfect life when there were a husband and son living with me inside of it.
As I walk, I see myself outside the stories of expectation and disappointment I have used to crush myself with for so many years. Today, I am a woman walking her dog very early in the morning while her son sleeps at his father’s apartment across town. Some could call this good, some could call this bad, perfect or flawed, but really we don’t know.