When I moved out here, B and I moved into a condo his friend owned, off a Route-1 type two-lane highway filled with Starbucks and chain restaurants. For a first-time relocation to a new state, it was a good spot: a mile from a Target, across the street from a liquor store, and, accidentally and gloriously, 7 minutes from the mall where I had been hired to work part-time, sight unseen. But I’ve been a city dweller for eight years, and before that I was a campus pedestrian, so not being able to walk anywhere drove me quickly insane. You expect apartment living in New York, but out here it’s nice to meet people, and our complex wasn’t great for that. A lot of our neighbors were a tight-knit group of Indian families who all know one another; they were friendly but not inviting. There was a nice family downstairs with a baby that I would have loved to get to know, but I once called the cops on the husband when I heard him abusing his wife. It was our first time living together, and both of our first time living with a partner, which made it special, and it had advantages – modern amenities, a pool, washer and dryer!, and the sweetest landlord on earth – but wasn’t ideal living, all around.
We started looking for a new place months ago, trying to pull that one foot I’ve had out the door all the way in, trying to commit to this new city, new state, entirely new life, and we had no luck. None. Nothing was right, nothing was in the neighborhood we wanted, nothing was the right price. If it was a house it didn’t allow dogs. If it allowed dogs it was carpeted, or so expensive I might as well move back to Manhattan. We talked about staying in the condo, re-arranging it totally to make it truly our home. We talked about looking other places. Mostly, as with so many other things out here, I stood still, or shifted incrementally. I’ve had a series of lateral-move, temporary jobs, an apartment that feels like a place to stay, not a home, a Massachusetts license still tucked into my wallet. I’ve been standing still.
Last week, a few days after our October 1 moving deadline had already passed, we went to see a house. It was perfect for me: wood floors, a little fireplace, a magic garden in the backyard, and it allowed dogs. B got on board and said we could move. Over breakfast, I told him how much that meant to me, but that we should do what was right for both of us. He just started a new job with a huge increase in responsibility, and this house wasn’t as perfect for him as it was for me by a long shot. We could take our time. We could stay in the condo, as we had discussed on occasion. We could figure out a way to move forward together, as partners.
We stopped by to see one last house, one that I knew three people were already interested in that we had no real chance of renting. I fell in love immediately. Shiny wood floors, high ceilings, a walk-in kitchen with a pantry. A living room and a library. Carpet in the master bedroom. A backyard and a front porch just begging for a swing, in a better location and for a better price than the first place. After all that talk about “taking our time” and “doing what was right for both of us” less than hour before, I walked out and told B, “if we’re going to take it, we have to take it now.” And we did. We had the place in our name in 24 hours.
After almost a year of nothing moving, swaying stagnantly from side to side, B started a new job, I got some opportunities to write and a few interviews, we’re moving, and we’re closing in on my one-year anniversary and my 30th birthday. I know people love the phrase “when it rains it pours,” but I’ve always found that to be a little subtle for my particular circadian rhythm, which moves along a lot more like this: Nothing Happens, or Everything Happens All At Once.