You step into an acquaintance’s house for the first time, and discover that everything — from the furniture, to the books, to the art on the wall — is identical to your home. What happens next?
I clear a pathway, scooting shoes of various sizes and shapes to the side and cross the floor to the nearest chair. I take an armful of dog hair-covered coats and move them from the chair onto another chair, careful to balance them on top of the coats already on it. My friend gives me some water. The glass has a familiar feeling of greasiness. She stands as we talk and drink our water. There are no spare chairs — or rather, no place to throw the coats which now overflow the only spare chair. The walls are covered with hooks holding layers of raincoats and caps, and the table is covered with leashes, boxes, racks, and an electric bread maker sitting in a pile of breadcrumbs.
After we’re done with our water, we herd the dogs together and head outside. The air is pristine and the pines remind me of Christmas. A chipmunk peeks out of his hole by the stairs and nods hello.
Holding hands, we take a long walk through the woods, silent except for chirping chipmunks, birds, and the breeze rustling the leaves overhead. Anything we have to say to each other has already been said.