Mrs. Chatterbox loved the property, but I wasn’t sold on it. The house was everything we were looking for: stylish, contemporary, roomy, full of great design possibilities. And behind the back fence was a greenbelt with glorious trees. There lay the problem.
The greenbelt had been purchased by the city years ago to build a road connecting two busy thoroughfares. I asked the realtor, “When will the city build the road?”
He shrugged. “Plans were drawn up for it twenty years ago, but other projects keep siphoning off the funding.”
“But it will be built?”
That was enough for me. I told Mrs. Chatterbox we should keep looking.
“Why?” she asked. “This house is perfect. I say we make an offer.”
“What about the road? One day we’ll be looking out the window and see those glorious trees being bulldozed. And we’ll have a freeway behind our house.”
“It won’t be a freeway,” she scoffed. “Just a two lane road.”
We debated it for several days. I lost.
We moved in and lived in that house for five years, and a day didn’t go by when I didn’t go to the window and fret over the fate of those trees. In my mind I could see them being toppled. I heard the sounds of chain saws, construction crews, smoke-belching machines laying down asphalt, not to mention the noise of incessant traffic: blaring radios, ambulances, fire trucks, police cars.
Over the years, the city council repeatedly debated the road, reiterating the need for it
and the city’s determination to build it. Mrs. Chatterbox just shrugged when I expressed my concern—she was perfectly happy with or without the road—but knowing it would one day materialize behind my house filled me with dread. Eventually, I could barely stand the sight of those trees.
I breathed a sigh of relief when we finally moved away. Decades have since passed. On a recent drive through the old neighborhood I saw a kid flying a kite in that greenbelt. Folks were walking dogs.
The road still hadn’t been built.
I felt like a jackass. If the city ever gets around to it, those trees will all be chopped down, but only once. In my mind I’d chopped them down a thousand times.
Have you ever worried about something that never happened? Tell us about it.