If These Walls Could Talk

If These Walls Could Talk by Bettye Griffin Read Free Book Online

Book: If These Walls Could Talk by Bettye Griffin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Bettye Griffin
hopscotch games and could actually play on grass were the ten days she spent at camp in Pennsylvania each year.
    â€œIt’s not fair,” Reuben muttered. “Back in the day your average working man could afford four walls and a roof. People who work hard are supposed to be able to get somewhere. I’d like to get more out of life than just having a decent apartment, and I want to give Mitchell and Shayla something to strive for from life. Too many black kids today have no goals other than to drive a nice car. I don’t want our kids to start thinking that’s all they can achieve.”
    â€œWell, let’s not give up. I’m sure that somewhere out there is the perfect house for us.”
    But even as she said the words, she wondered if they were pursuing an impossible dream.

    â€œCamille, c’mere!”
    Camille sensed the urgency in Reuben’s voice. She rushed to their bedroom, toothbrush in hand and her mouth still full of toothpaste. “What is it?” she asked anxiously.
    â€œLook at this.” He reached for the remote control and raised the volume on the TV.
    She stared blankly as the camera scanned a neighborhood of well-kept, new-looking homes, all with immaculate front lawns. She felt a pang of wanting in her chest at the shot of children riding bicycles along wide sidewalks bordered by thick, lush grass. Those should be her children....
    The announcer’s voice played as the camera continued to scan the pretty neighborhood. “Arlington Acres, a taste of paradise in the shadow of the Pocono Mountains. Enjoy life surrounded by graceful mountain peaks and peaceful valleys. Swim in our community pool, and indulge in boating and fishing in our lake. Come out to visit us today and arrange for your new home. Why wait? It’s affordable. Get rid of your landlord and become a home owner in lovely Arlington Acres, Tobyhanna, Pennsylvania.” The picture changed to a dark background with the address and telephone number written across the screen.
    She shrugged. Most of her childhood friends had left the city years ago, settling in places like Ohio and Maryland, some alone, others with boyfriends, eventually settling down and purchasing homes in an affordable market. She envied their becoming home owners, but the time had passed for her and Reuben to make a cold move like that. They had careers to think about and two children to care for. “It’s too bad they don’t have anything like that here.” Damn New York for being so expensive.
    â€œWhy don’t we check it out?”
    â€œWhat for? Seeing it will only break our hearts.”
    â€œI don’t want to just look at it. I want us to consider it. Let’s see what it’s really like, see how long a commute would take. It’s not that far, Camille.”
    She stared at him skeptically. “Not that far? It’s in Pennsylvania, Reuben. I went to camp in the Pocono Mountains when I was a kid. That ride took forever.”
    â€œCamille, you missed the first part of the commercial. That man might as well have been talking to us. He asked if we were frustrated over being priced out of the New York suburbs. He asked if we wanted better neighborhoods and schools for our children. He said that hundreds of New Yorkers are moving to eastern Pennsylvania and enjoying the finer things in life while commuting to work. And the best thing of all, he said we can have a beautiful, brand-new home for as little as $740 a month.”
    Her apprehension melted away quicker than butter on a steaming hot baked potato. They paid more than that for rent now. “Really?”
    â€œI don’t know much about what it’s about, other than what I saw on the commercial. Maybe there’s a catch. But I think that if there’s a chance we can buy a brand-new house for less than we’re paying in rent, I think we owe it to ourselves to find out.”
    â€œSo do I, Reuben.” Camille

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