Over seven years, the Ashley House (so called in reference to a street name) had been peopled with various combinations of young career-aged ladies. As different ones got married or moved away, they passed the lease around. I came to the house just after returning from Oxford two years ago. In the transient area with changing jobs and living situations, the house population shifted and in the fall of this year, the final combination of roomies came together. We didn’t all know each other. Some of us had been friends since childhood, others met through chance meeting. Whatever the circumstances, when we came together in the final year of the Ashley house, something special happened.
Somehow in those nine months we forged a sisterhood. I say forged because it wasn’t all sunshine and lalalala like a music montage with the How I met Your Mother theme music playing in the background. We had difficult conversations, we cried together at the messes in life and maybe left the occasional
passive aggressive good-humored and loving note.
We had our big nights out, and quiet nights in hosting friends. But sometimes the most special moments were the spontaneous ones living life together: being snowed in together, fighting off cookie dough thieves when one of us is baking, the dance parties that can erupt at anytime, handstand competitions so serious we moved the couch out of the way, singing “Let it Go” at the top of our lungs, finding someone who also couldn’t sleep at 3 am and watching Captain America on a school night, trying to find a Christmas tree and going shopping instead, late night chick-fil-a runs, watching sports, fighting over sports, and so, so many talks around the kitchen table. We allowed ourselves the scary “what-ifs” of futures, and we listened to each others’ dreams . Each of the five of us at some point in the year and in some capacity quit her job. One of us is running her own business. One of us is pursuing international missions. Many of us are traveling in the coming year, and whether by the transition to a new job, a different contract, or an extended time off all of us have made room in our lives to chase our dreams.
At the end of this year, our lease was up and because our future plans had outgrown a one-year lease, we went our separate ways and ended the lease. We packed up and moved out the end of May.
We entered that house as renters, became friends, and left like family. I like to think of the time in the house as an airport terminal. We needed that time together before we all depart and take off in different directions. I know that I would not have as much courage, without the support system they provided. But the doors are opening now, and it’s time to fly.