Encumbrance

(Teamed up with a guest author, Lisa Novak for this post. Hoping her writing can be a regular feature.)

Julian Realty was established in 1946, and I wasn’t established until 1994. Twenty-four is young, but I hide behind that date on the office window that’s freshly painted and then rubbed at just to make it look old. Seventy-two years of real estate is a lot out here in Julian, a small town that prides itself on apple pie and nostalgia. The Harold family, my family, has owned it from the beginning, passing it from father to son and down again.

“Folks come by to peruse the listings on the bulletin board out front. I can hear them through the single-pane window, and they all say about the same thing.

” “Wouldn’t it be nice to move to the country for a simpler life?”

“If I didn’t live here myself, I’d reckon they’d be right. When you live in the country, sometimes simple means you don’t get a choice. I never wanted to work real estate. My father sits on our front porch all day, just like the ones in the listings out front. He empties bottle after bottle, and I keep up the business. Sometimes simple can suffocate you, even with wide open spaces and fresh country air.”