Saturday, November 21, 2009

Day six hundred and eighty six ... Keys to the castle.

This is my house.

But this picture was taken last October, before it was actually mine.

I had made a bid on a house right around the corner. It was way too small and way too expensive, but I was in a hurry. For what reason I can't be sure. I can, however, speculate that a contributing factor was that my aunt--the last of my close, blood relatives--had passed away the month prior and I didn't want to have to endure what was coming over the horizon in the same apartment I had lived in for eight years.

I didn't want to be in the same building over the holiday season that for so many years before had been the scene of so many family events. Not that we celebrated Christmas or Thanksgiving in my old place. But it's where I was picked up, brought back, and given bag after beautiful bag of groceries by my family. It's where I had birthday parties for me, and even one for my mom. The long, slow, smiling wait for her to crest the top step to the staircase that led up to the second floor each time she came there I will never forget. The excitement and boisterous noise that always carried throughout the normally quiet neighborhood during those events will always remain vibrating in part of the air there in my mind. And the way I would stand at the doorway on the bottom floor making silly faces, waving, and waiting for them to slowly back up, cautiously turn, and drive ahead down my dead end street--me, shoulders slumped and sad like a little boy, with tears running down his ruddy cheeks.

Maybe it was that.

Maybe I didn't want to spend the holidays there another year without them.

So I packed up my things and moved out.

Like I said, I almost bought the wrong place. But I talked with some friends, paid a building inspector, and ultimately came to terms with the fact that I had been impulsive and hasty. I stood back from the situation, looked at it with a fresh perspective, and begrudgingly changed my stubborn little mind.

But such has been my lifestyle for almost two whole years.

And so, a year ago on November 21 I went to see my lawyer. We went to the bank and then we went back to his office. I met my buyers agent and the sellers agent and we signed some papers. I nervously waited until I got the call from my lawyer telling me everything was as it should be; the house was officially mine.

And then I had this picture taken.

And I moved in with the help of my friends.

I celebrated Thanksgiving with some of them.

I had Christmas with my Aunt Anne here. I lit the bayberry candle on Christmas Eve, which has been a tradition in my family since before I was ever even able to hold a match--the smell of a blown out candle consistently evoking the deepest, dearest emotions in my soul.

And the winter came in and rolled on like it does every year.

A whole hell of a lot has happened since then.

I met a girl who I can talk to, first and foremost, and I fell deeply in love.

I travelled throughout Europe with her.

I got better at working through my personal problems.

I think I learned how to shut up about the things that don't really matter.

And I made this house a home.

And I come back to this place--a place like no other to me--every time I go away. It holds so many memories for me now. The first piece of furniture delivered; the warm brownies left on the doorstep by the neighbors; the first coating of snow; the first heating bill; my first fireplace fire; the first time the smoke detectors went off; my first party; my first real date in what seemed like a lifetime; the second date; the first nervous, excited, kiss; meeting the parents and cooking them dinner; Baseball season on my television; my birthday; the summer; landscaping; touring the world with someone I love; her birthday and the magnificent outdoor party here that accompanied it; the fall; the end of baseball season on my television; the leaves leaving my surroundings shockingly bare; the realization that privacy is overrated; the first few fleeting flakes of this winter's snow; the first time the heat went on since the last time; and the understanding that it's all come around again and November twenty-first is here at my doorstep.

And regardless of whether I may have rushed it or not. Regardless of if I almost made the biggest mistake in my life buying a house that wasn't right for me. Regardless of the way things might have gone had I not opened my mouth to say, both, "Hey guys, I put in a bid on a house," or, "I'd love to get together sometime" ...

Regardless of any of that, right now I'm sitting in my favorite place in the world, waiting for my favorite person to arrive, doing what I absolutely love most ...

And there's no better ending than that.

Here's to a year in the books and the rest of time on my side.

Thanks for reading,



Jamie Quinn said...

Congrats Alex...All the best for many more years and many more memories.

Anonymous said...

Nice one Al.

F. Alex Johnson said...

Thanks guys.

Glad you've both been part of it.