I tell a three-year-old that I’m moving to Chicago, which is why I won’t be coming to play with her again for awhile. I look around for a map to show her where Illinois is, and can’t find one. She understands, and takes me to her window.
“Look,” she says.
I look out, over the city I have to leave again. I squint through the light at the houses, the apartment buildings, the red tile roofs and fire escapes, the palm trees, oak trees, dead trees and living trees, the hills and the sky. The view is faded, like a photograph left in the sun.
She points to the highest of the peaks and shows me a house on its edge. The home of some rich person in the hills, perhaps, or some hippie in the canyons. It’s very far away, and the light catches its roof. I can barely see it.
“That’s your house there. You go live there, up on the mountain,” she says.
“Okay,” I say, and give her a hug. She sounds like she means business.
As I walk out the door, she adds, “If you go there and it’s not your house, then you can come back.”
I thank her and go to buy my plane ticket.