David dropped by this afternoon and watched part of the game with me. He's getting more serious about finding an apartment now, so I don't know how much I'll be seeing of him in the future. As long as he's been living with his parents, I've had the benefit of being a convenient stop on his way home from work. But he starts his new job in Marin County in just over a week, and I don't count on seeing him as often.
I don't think he really wants to move out, and in most ways Suzanne and John aren't ready to let him go. But in real families nothing is ever that simple. You can wish with all your heart for things to work out one way, and the tiniest seed of a circumstance can keep it from happening.
Sometimes a change is necessary, or seems necessary. I'm just the uncle (and brother) so I don't have any say in what happens. I listen sympathetically to both sides and try to smooth things out as much as an interested outsider can. If I could wave a magic wand and have all the tension in the family disappear, I'd do it. Then everyone would be happy and want everyone else to be happy.
It's not that I think anyone wants anyone else to be unhappy, but when three adults live in one house, there might not be enough happiness to go around. It's a little like a treaty negotiation where all sides feel they're being asked to give up too much. Whenever compromise starts to feel like surrender, the talks are probably going to break down.
It's painful to watch this happen to people I love, but it's even more painful for them. I've lived alone for too long to be able to give advice about how people should live together. I'm a good listener sometimes, though.
Suzanne and John are leaving tomorrow on a cruise, so David will have the house to himself for the next week. And they'll be away from each other, with time to think about how they'll deal with the situation. Time and distance might give them all a better perspective. Not that anything will necessarily change, but at least it breaks the cycle for awhile.