They had Christmas lights on their house every year and I would lie in my bed and stare at them till my eyes hurt. My eyes would close and I could still see the lights reflected on the back of the lids. They didn't like us very much, those neighbors with lights on their house every Christmas. I couldn't say I blamed them, I hated us too. I imagined their lights on their house and me in their house commiserating about the people next door and how bad they were. And I could be a part of that world and not the world I was. I would lay in their bed and look out their window and see a house that didn't have Christmas lights and I'd be happy.
The bed I laid in, to watch the Christmas lights, always gave me splinters. I was fast to leave and the backs of my knees scrapped the rough wood. I never minded much, I had better places to be. Better than that bed that gave me splinters and scrapped the back of my knees. Better than that bed that reminded me there was a better world right outside my window.
Right now at this very moment I can close my eyes and see that bed and those Christmas lights. And that neighbor's house. And sliding bedroom doors. And crooked hallways. Because life is not much if your bedroom doors slide. And your hallways are crooked. Doors should open and close with hinges. And hallways should always be straight. Hallways should you walk you straight into the arms of the rest of the house.
And sometimes I lay in my children's bed and look out their windows to see if they see something better. And I hope their life is better with doors with hinges and straight hallways. I hope their windows never look out into something more.