(Fitzpatrick) The Cha's were forbidden from the start. But that's not why they were important.
We were standing in our yard that day ten years ago when their old car pulled up to the low-slung shingled house next door, close behind was the moving van.
"Oh drat." My mom exclaimed, her arms crossing and a displeasing look upon her face. "I so hoped we could have avoided this."
I furrowed my brows, my eight year old self not understanding. "What's going on Mom?" She just shook her head, sighing as she got back to planting new flowers in our front garden.
Walking quickly to the fence that divided our house from the one next door, I perched on my tipy toes and peered through the slat, an act I knew my mom would frown upon.
I watched in amazement as two parents and five children spilled from the worn sedan, like a clown car at the circus. My mom tsked.
"This kind of thing. There's one in every neighborhood. The family that never keeps up with the house, never mows their lawn, toys scattered everywhere. The messy family who lowers real estate values and has one to many children. Here they are...right next door." (Fitzpatrick)
I didn't understand then why it bothered my mom so much, and honestly, even now, as I perch upon my rooftop on this sunny summer day, watching the now 8 children play in the backyard and swim in the pool, I don't understand.
The Cha's were the exact opposite of every family in this neighborhood, especially mine. My mother's pristine, white colonial with black shutters and a perfectly mowed lawn with precise vertical patterns contrasted vastly to the modest ranch next door.
As I watched the family carry on, I couldn't help but become envious.
It was summer and I was home alone. My older sister, HeeYoung, was away at an internship...at least, that was what she told our mom, though in reality she had snuck off to be with her boyfriend in New York.
She'd sworn me to secrecy and of course I wouldn't betray that, but it didn't make me any less lonely. She was having a whirlwind romance while I pathetically stalked my neighbors.
You might be wondering where my parents could be. How could they possibly leave their 18 year old girl alone?
When I was five, my father walked out on my mother, abandoning the three of us. My mother is and always has been a politician. She's been our districts congress woman for a long time.
Our family is a little famous, you could say. And with that, my mother is always on the go. If it's not a re-election year, then it's countless charity events and gala's. Meaningless dinner engagements and a lot of fake smiles.
I feel like my mother is here but she isn't. Because even when I do have her attention, she's harping on how dirty the house is or about my summer job and extra circulars, as if her house could be anymore perfect then it already is and I could be any more compliant then I already am.
You see unlike most of my friends this summer, enjoying their last bit of freedom be