A red umbrella.
Before I came to live in this house, I lived in an apartment building called Lomita Vista. It had been on my radar for a number of years: a fabulous 1900 stucco structure perched over a green belt, overlooking the Sound (and the grain elevator, which many rued, but I kind of liked), and one day after pestering the manager for years, I stopped by and a unit was available. A friend had lived in the top, corner apartment, and that's the one I chose as the ultimate, settling for the time being for one on the first floor. I soon got to know the guy who lived there now. The friend was someone who had been in my life for a long time, some of it romantic, most of it not, and he had gone off to another city with his sub-par girlfriend after stirring up the romantic, again, and something in my reptilian brain sought some kind of circle of life shit by wanting to live where he had lived. Anyway, the guy that lived there now and I got to talking one night (as we stood out on his deck, with me thinking, someday this will be MINE, all MINE) and I happened to mention my dear friend who lives up in Bellingham and as it happened, that person was THIS person's love-of-his-life, who was essentially the-one-who-got-away. So, soon they were talking on the phone, then visiting, then after just a short time, I was helping him move his stuff out of my dream apartment and into a van (It's all your fault, said my dear friend. So much is, I replied) and now, years later, they are still living happily up in Bellingham.
I never did take his apartment, though. I ended up just moving upward, when the (lead footed) woman upstairs moved out. One floor up, with no overhang of balcony overhead, it was like being at the helm of a great ship. And hot as hell. So I bought a big umbrella and secured it to the railings, where it stayed and did it's job for awhile, until a bit of wind gusted up, then it sailed away, and I would hunt it down, and it would sail away, like some old man and the sea shit, because every time I retrieved it, there was something else broken on it, so when I left, I left it.So, now at the end of this long summer, I ordered one for the back. It helps keep the chicken house cooler and I envision sitting under it in Fall rains. For a long time, after the story book reunion of these two dear souls, that I had helped facilitate just by essentially showing up, I honestly waited for some kind of payback from the gods. For surely this was a sign that I was in the right place, at the right time. Turns out I was: for them. Period. My remaining time in Lomita Vista involved fighting the new Republican manager with his douchey wing tips and bottom line, and the friend came back to town, and we finally had our romance and it was horrible. Sometimes when you feel a strong call to some place, you assume it's for you and about you, and ultimately, it was. For where I had one dear friend up in Bellingham, I now have two.