“All marriages are happy. It’s the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.” ~Raymond Hull
I can’t say I wasn’t worried. It would be a lie. Because moving 800 miles to be with someone I knew mostly through the hundred or so emails we sent each other, to live with someone I had only “met” once before, it was crazy. I will readily admit that, and yet it was the only option that made sense. I was 25 years old, and not getting any younger. I felt this amazing connection with a woman, a connection I had never felt before in my life. I owed it to myself to see it out, to take that leap of faith and hope I landed on my feet.
And hope we landed on our feet.
Long distance doesn’t work. I knew that as well as anyone. So it was either live together and make that leap or try and make the distance matter less. We agreed that it had to be all in, and that meant living together. So we were committed to seeing it through, for better or for worse. I remember when she first brought me to see this place, how she looked at me while I looked at it, trying to gauge my reaction. From the Pepto Bismol pink walls, to the fake fireplace, to the shelves build into the doorway from the foyer to the dining room, the reaction she saw was one of doubt.
I was doubtful that this place could ever become a home for us, that was for sure. It had old nob-and-tube electrical wiring, so none of our appliances fit for a while, until we could get the electrician in here to switch it all over. Which meant we had no appliances for a while. We spent most of our days cleaning out the junk, cleaning the place, painting the walls, and re-imagining what it could be. Those were, I’ll admit, some of the most close-knit days for us because we were a team in more ways than one. It was Project House, and we were more than up for the task.
Back then we had to cart our clothes to the village laundromat a couple of times a week and engage in small talk with people who often looked at me like I was an alien. We spent our non-cleaning time trying to make the place just a little bit more homey. It was admittedly small, but it was a good place for us to get to know each other more. I’ll admit it was a small sample size for both of us when it came to each other, but not having appliances, having one television channel that didn’t always come in, and sharing the adventure together, it bonded us in ways I don’t think we would have been otherwise.
Over the course of a few months things began coming together. We began reclaiming the yard from the overgrowth that had consumed roughly half of it over years of neglect. The lawnmower was a push one so it was difficult to get it to do what we needed to do, but we tried our best. Finally the electrician got rid of the nob-and-tube, and we were up and running finally with a microwave and a refrigerator. The rest would come along over the next few weeks, but it felt good to know we were building a future, quite literally, piece by piece, with every small thing that added to this house becoming our home.
Yes, I’m going to miss this place, for the memories more than anything else.