When I had lunch with Rosa two Tuesdays ago, there was a lot of talking about The Future. (Capital letters mean nit’s the important Future and not the immediate future in which I will probably bump into people accidentally, letting coffee loose all over everyone’s outfits. It looks to be one of those days.)
The Future is sort of like the sun. It’s bright and warm and enticing, but if you stare at it too long, you start to feel a little light headed and your vision starts to play tricks on you. Or if you’re me, your boyfriend tells you that you need to pack your shoes first and then ducks to avoid the coffee you just threw at his head braces for impact, because that’s a ballsy statement to make when he knows you’re barely clinging to sanity in the face of all this PMS.
My future involves a month and half working on the Volvo Ocean Race finale PUMA City in Boston. It involves packing the five years worth of crap that I’ve managed to stockpile into my tiny apartment, including roughly 100 pairs of shoes. It means cleaning, and repainting, and getting back into shape for work. Because The Future for me also includes moving in with James who, bless his little soul, swears he does not mind living with all those shoes if it means waking up next to me every morning.
… I hope he knows I’m serious about keeping every single pair.
We saw our first apartment last night, meeting our broker-to-be, Jen, for the first time. We were both a little nervous. I can’t be entirely sure why– perhaps it has something to do with the fact that James and I parade around like our own private club. And you’re either in it, or you’re not, and sometimes I think we’re doing that thing we do where we’re the clique and everyone else around us (translate: the guys at work) don’t get half the jokes and wonder what they hell is so funny about a pukey-noise. (Everything. Everything is so funny about a pukey-noise. Duh.)
We were worried that she’d dislike us, or we’d dislike her, or she’d have no sense of humor, or warts. You can never be too safe. We scare easily. And we’re a little nervous because this is our first grown-up apartment hunt, where we have to save all the money and make all the choices and meet all the criteria. And, bless his little soul again, James gets to make all the final calls on this stuff, because I’m going to be in Boston when the intense apartment hunt happens.
And, to be entirely honest, that’s fine. I will love everything she shows us because when I’m worried about being homeless, I’ll settle for anything that has a mostly-intact roof. This time around, though, the bar is set a little higher. We’d like sunlight. Space. A puppy.
I’d love to have a place that I know as “home.”
James and I were laying in bed the other night, and I was explaining how home is a funny concept for me now, as the apartments I’ve lived in since leaving my parents’ house have been temporary. None of them have been home. And it’s a supremely upsetting experience to pack and move your entire existence every six-to-twelve months. Especially if you’re a creature like me, a creature of habit. I lived in my parents’ house, the same house, with the same address, on the same road, with the same dogs for the first eighteen years of my life. Then I moved to Italy. Then I stayed in Albany. Then I moved to White Plains. Then I moved to New York City. Then I moved back home. Then I moved to Idaho. Then I moved home again. Then I moved back to New York City. Brooklyn Heights: Dorms. Brooklyn Heights Apartment. Brooklyn Heights Dorm again. Midtown West. Jersey City.
And I said to James, “I just feel sometimes like I’m never going to be home again.” And he kissed my forehead, which is his unfailing way of settling my Crazy Girl Anxiety back into place, and said, “Well, we’ll build New Home together.” And, be honest, you’d fall in love with him, too, after a moment like that. Because it’s more than just knowing what to say at the right time. Whether or not it was really like this, I chose to believe he meant it, and all that implies. (Which, as we all know, is a very big step for me and all my scary issues.)
I hate my life in boxes. My bedroom back home became my mother’s office, possibly as a deterrent from falling flat on my face and crawling home again. It worked. I am now moving to what appears to be the Upper East Side, working with a marvelous broker who wore a phenomenal skirt and very cute boots to our first meeting. And yes, just in case you missed it, I’m moving in with the Awesome Boyfriend, because he promises to love me despite all my shoes. And clothes.
I told Rosa about this in our discussion of The Future, and a weird thing happened that I had again last night. This wave of calm settled over me, and all of the sudden the dizzying speed at which the future is descending upon us seemed to slow a little, and I caught glimpses in my mind of what it would look like to live with James, do the morning routine every day, dinner and the gym every night, snuggle up together and nod off to sleep knowing that if we have nothing else, we have a safe space, protected from the chaos and clutter of the outside world by the simple fact that we have this amazing love for one another all over the inside. And, you know, it’s pretty interesting that something so simple, something that could have the potential to be so delicate also acts as something to strong, so impervious.
And of course there was the subsequent onslaught of questions. And I answered Rosa as honestly as I could, with the same answer I gave Maxine and Christine for the two month period of time I dated James without, you know, officially dating James. What does this mean? I don’t know. Well, does it mean…? Mmm… I don’t know. You haven’t talked about it? Nope. I mean… I don’t know. So, you’re moving in together but…? Right. I don’t know.
And then I smiled and told her it wouldn’t break my hear to wake up next to him every morning in The Conceivable Future, and if everything stays as it is now (Amazing. Awesome. Perfect.)… Who knows? Not me, that’s for one. But as soon as I do, you’ll be the first to hear about it.
Until then, we’re really doing it. We’re really moving in together… and all that implies.