A Woman of Her Word (February 2019, Round 1, Day 1)
“It’s just a house,” he said. “You’ll get used to the weather,” he said. “You’re needed here,” he said. And I listened.
I loved the house at 482 and a half Single Lane Road. I loved it for its redundant address that, thanks to the “half” brought along a touch of whimsey. I spent twenty five years, eight months, one week, and three days living there in numbers, and a lifetime there in experiences. Packing up to leave forced a walk down many lanes, single and otherwise. It was my choice to leave that house. Staying would have cost more than the price of the memories so, in the end, I chose to go. That doesn’t mean I don’t miss it. Choice doesn’t cancel out our access to the full spectrum of feelings. It does make that spectrum a bit more complicated.
He was right. It was just a house, and I did get used to the weather, and there was no question about where I was needed.
I landed in an apartment in a city. A small white-walled apartment in a big, impersonal, non-whimsical city. Even my new address – 15 East 38th Street, Apartment 24b – was as nondescript as possible. It felt like this new place was doing all it could to highlight how different it was from the last, as if I needed any reminders. It had taken all I had to sign on the dotted line to get my keys. Twelve months. I was signing my life away for the next twelve months. The gruff property manager clearly didn’t see the gravity of the situation. He wanted nothing more than to check off the boxes on his form. “No damages noted – check. No pet deposit needed – check. Fully operational appliances – check.” He was all business while I was in the midst of a crisis of conscience. I didn’t win any points when I likened the scenario to a virgin visiting a prostitute for the first time, especially once he realised who was who in that analogy.
15 East 38th Street, Apartment 24b, was mine – all 500 square feet of it – for the next twelve months like it or not because, as he reminded me, I am a woman of my word. That first night it was just me, a package of toilet paper, my suitcase, and the takeout food I’d ordered. My things were following me, and he hadn’t expected me until next week so the only furniture in the place was a king sized bed he’d gotten on clearance. He had, at least, managed to add sheets, pillows, and a comforter before I arrived. His stumbling apology for the lack of creature comforts in my temporary home still rung in my ears as I stood looking down at the city from my 24th floor vantage point, avoiding bed and thinking about all I’d left and all that was in front of me. And, if I let myself roll around in all my feelings, I was happy.