On Monday we closed on our house. I expected our last weekend to be filled with bittersweet nostalgic reminiscing [of which I’m an olympic champion] but this did not happen as our buyers kept us on the edge of our seat so much so that had BRAVO known they’d have offered full reality TV rights to the whole debacle. Until late afternoon Monday we did not know with full certainty if we would close.
But we did. We closed. Yes it took an entire day. Yes it was one of the top ten most stressful moments of my life. But its done. It’s now insh’Allah behind me.
It’s a strange free-wheeling free-floating anti-gravity sort of feeling to no longer be chained to a home and to not feel the burden of trees to trim or heaters to service. I feel like I can go anywhere. We could move to a suburb. Stay in the city. Move to San Francisco. Alaska. Fiji. Really, anything could happen. And while home ownership has its benefits [privacy for starters], I feel liberated.
The liberation comes with a 1940’s condo in the heart of the city overlooking a courtyard with a fantastic old tree which fascinates Waleed as he watches the squirrels jump from branch to branch from our living room window. Liberation is also 897 square feet. It’s not the physical space that’s tough to adjust to, its the lack of storage space. We gave away quite literally half of our belongings. And stored nearly everything else. We brought as much as could fit in our cars and yet its difficult since space is just so sparse. I’m reading up on tiny living and though its a challenge, its not permanent so it does not feel frustrating- instead it feels like a sort of adventure.
The storage issue is only second though to the fact that we reside on the second floor of a condo in which the floor boards creak. A lot. I worry about the downstairs neighbor, a kind piano teacher, who must be wondering why we brought our three show-ponies into the condo with us as what else could account for the hopping, skipping, and galloping noises to be heard overhead? Either Waleed’s louder here, or because of the living space, I notice more. I want to be a good neighbor, but I fear creaky floor boards and fiesty toddlers make a difficult combination for peace and quiet downstairs.
Hopefully he’s not too bothered as we’re hardly home. Unlike suburb living in which cars are critical, here, we walk. Today I walked to the bookstore, the library, the fro-yo shop and the doctor office down the street. I walked to the park. To dinner. I walked until my feet hurt and yet I didn’t want to stop walking. There was too much to explore. To much to see. Too much I missed all these years. Time I can’t get back.
And the people? They smile. They say hello. At the park someone asked how old my son was. She said he was cute. We made small talk. Later as the sun began to dip we sat at the steps of our condo as a lady paused laughing at Waleed’s complete jaw dropped expression at the white puppy she was walking. Want to pet him? she asked. You have to understand, this never happened where I lived. I know this is not everyone’s experience and I can only wonder if perhaps I was just the wrong color and by default most likely the wrong faith as well that I mostly felt invisible. Whatever the reasons, how nice this change is. I feels like I’ve come out of an abusive relationship and think every other guy will be the same. Except this new guy? He buys me flowers. He opens doors for me. I’m starting to like this new guy. I’m beginning to think he might be the one.
People ask me why I’m doing this all so backwards. Have no kids and own in the suburbs. Have kids and rent in the close quarters of the city. Honestly? The urgency hit because of our child. K’s commute? 15 minutes as opposed to 60. The saved time is more precious than any interest bearing account. I don’t want a large home for him that floats on an island alone. I want what I’ve always wanted: For his home to extend beyond the four corners of his walls. Will this place ultimately provide that? Can’t say for certain yet but so far its promising. So far its worth finding out.