Week Twenty Two - A Day in The Life - Lightning Storm
It came out of nowhere, just like a storm in summer. Paul and I were in the kitchen, talking about this and that, nothing in particular, nothing serious. At one point, Paul scratched his throat (this is typically a sign he wants to change subject) and said:
“I have been thinking about our financial situation. I have decided to stop making our mortgage payments and let the house go.”
At first I did not register what he was saying. It took me a few seconds to digest it.
“What do you mean – I said – let the house go?”
“The house is upside-down, he continued, what’s the point of paying for something that is worth much less than what we paid for it, and that probably will never have the same high value again?”
In a flash I saw my dream house vandalized; the swimming pool water green with algae and the backyard full of weeds. I LOVE this house, I thought, I can’t let it go. Then I saw my father commenting about responsibility and commitment. We had that conversation one day, my father and I. We were discussing some of the houses in his neighborhood that had been abandoned by their owners and were now vacant and often vandalized. My father was furious at homeowners who, according to him, were irresponsible and just walked away, rather than being accountable for their decisions.
And where would we live, in an apartment again? I loved my backyard and my swimming pool. I got spoiled by the privacy our house afforded us. I didn’t want to go back to sharing the pool with one hundred noisy kids, as we did before we bought the house.
These thoughts about sharing the pool may sound shallow, but they were the first things that came to my mind, as I was trying to think about what to say to Paul.
But mostly, I was disappointed in him. I had never thought he would give up our home and just walk away, seemingly without feeling any guilt. How could it be so easy for Paul to walk away from something that was part of his life? I know he loved this house. In fact, when we were looking around to buy one, of all the houses we saw this was the one he liked the most, and this is mainly why we bought it.
We talked about this for a while, but it was like we were speaking in two different languages, with neither of us understanding what the other was saying. He was talking figures and numbers; I was talking emotions, dreams, plans that were coming crushing down in front of my very eyes.
That night I couldn’t sleep. I kept having this recurrent dream where I was in a city I did not know, all alone, looking for a place and not being able to find it. I was scared, I knew I was lost and nobody could help me because I was in a foreign country and nobody spoke my language.