Yesterday morning I was putting away the homemade yellow play dough with black sparkles we’d just made and played with when I saw the email that your tissue sample had arrived safely at the lab in the US. All of the people who had played a role were incredibly happy. I cried and quickly hid my tears while Audrey came in to show me a picture she’d just drawn of a tap dancer. “Oh wow, I love it!” I cried because it was more unfinished business and I cried because every piece of you is now in this country where it belongs. Home.
A few minutes later, I got a call from my realtor telling me there were two bids already in for the house I had seen a second time yesterday- did I want to bid? I have never bid on a home before and hadn’t planned on doing it this day, but I had to decide quickly. I decided to bid on the home- trembling.
Another email- this time from my landlord asking me if I was going to stay here longer as he hasn’t been able to sell it yet.
And then another- this time from a close friend telling me tactfully that she is surprisingly pregnant again and she hopes it doesn’t make me sad. It does, but I will come around by the afternoon.
In the midst of talking on the phone, Audrey needs my help on the toilet- she didn’t quite make it.
This all happened within an hour. I do as my grandfather used to say, I roll with the punches. Life is certainly easier this way. But before I drive to the realtor’s to sign the contract with my bid, I sit and cry- no sob- staring at your desk.
Buying a home is not the exciting, rewarding thing I always thought it would be. It is the first major change since you died. It is a purchase made with death money. And it is something we should be doing together. Instead, I take the plunge, still unemployed, alone with a child- hoping we can somehow fill up a house and make it feel like a family lives there- and make it feel like home. It is nerve-wrecking to think about what I’ve just done- but I’ve done my research and given this a lot of thought- and… surely purchasing a home, despite the expense and implications, is not more difficult than purchasing the burial plot for your husband and yourself. Perspective.
On the drive to the realtor’s office Audrey tells me she’s never been to an office. I tell her the story of how she visited her dad’s office when she was just a baby- how he was so proud of her and how we visited every floor so he could show you off to everyone he knew. “He was so proud of you!” I wonder sometimes- what kind of person is forming in Audrey’s mind as her father. No matter how many details or attributes or stories I tell her, that person is not you- but a substitute for you. Words describing a person can never come close, I realize lately, to the person in their fullness, in their presence. I am sad that this is the best I can do for you- for her. Words.
By the time we get to the realtor office, another bid has already been accepted. The real estate market is alive and well in this area and things priced right go pretty quickly. Still, the realtor says I should give it a shot. I sign contracts while Audrey colors beside me in a red skirt with hearts talking to me the entire time…the whole process is so distracted and nonchalant, you’d think I was signing a receipt at the grocery store rather than a legal contract for thousands of dollars. It’s funny.
I am partly relieved I will most likely not get the house (I did not) and partly disappointed- it was a very lovely home and ready to move into.
We are home. We spot a yellow and white daffodil in an island off the parking lot just starting to open an inch or so above the ground. Spring, though, despite the flower, will not come early for me.