Firstly, apologies. It’s been a few months since I posted. Life, as it does, went through a rather hectic phase for a while there – part of which I’m going to delve into a little bit with this post!
When Dave and I began living together, it was really an arrangement of convenience. Yes, we were friends – (and yes, it was a very beneficial friendship). It was true that we genuinely enjoyed each others company, too. But the move came during a time of change for both of us as individuals. He was experiencing changes in his career. I was experiencing changes in my personal life.
So, knowing that he would need to move closer to his work (as they transferred him to a different lab), and knowing that I would have a spare bedroom and need help paying rent (as my ex moved out), we agreed the best course of action was for him to move into the spare bedroom of my apartment – which happened to be a block away from his new lab.
It was a solution that just seemed to work for the both of us.
Living with him was beyond easy. We moved fluidly around and through one another’s space with a sense of comfort that felt timeless – both of us remarking and laughing about how easy it was. It was nothing to find us both flopped on the lounge watching T.V., him in my space and me in his. I would start washing dishes and he would automatically join me in the kitchen with a tea towel. He sang in the shower – he sang all the time, actually – both actual songs, and songs that merely described what he was doing as he did it (thanks for the update, buddy. Really, I was dying to know that you were lathering soap at that current moment in time). We made each other laugh. We had serious, soul searching conversations at stupid hours of the night. We both shed tears, more than once, of mirth and sadness, sometimes simultaneously.
And yet – the space did not feel like ours. We were comfortable and happy enough in it, and we were making our own memories as our friendship became more without us even trying, but it was still a space that I had lived in longer – that I had shared with other people, and that had left me bruised and exhausted. I cannot tell you the amount of times that space – my home, did not feel like the safe harbour that it should have been. I cannot tell you how I had tried so very hard to make something impossible work in that space.
But, it was cheap rent, and it was central to Dave’s job. I wasn’t working at the time, so the cheap rent was a huge factor in our decision to stay where we were. It was also a huge reason that I freaked out completely when we were served a Notice to Vacate – No Grounds a few months back. It seemed our landlord wanted to “renovate” the apartment (it sorely needed it, I’ll admit!), which meant he wanted us to move out in order for him to do so. We had three months to find somewhere new.
I was a wreck. With limited finances, I felt that I was no help at all in the situation that we had suddenly found ourselves in. I worked myself to the point of nervous exhaustion, searching for potential rentals in a reasonable price range, organising inspections, driving Dave crazy with my endless lists of weighing pro’s and con’s of properties that we applied for. Several times he would wake in the morning to find messages that I had sent to him through Facebook messenger at 3am. We were turned down for our first few applications, which did nothing to soothe my frayed nerves.
After a few months, we viewed a house that needed some loving. It was in a decent area of town, not too far from Dave’s work, still – a three bedroom house with a large, fully enclosed backyard and a reasonably sized front yard, complete with garden beds. The rent was reasonable. The house itself, well… the previous tenants hadn’t been kind to it. Several holes in the walls were being repaired as we inspected the place. It was dirty, and the air inside smelled of the funk-soul brother from the 70’s who still lived in the vain hope that disco wasn’t dead (and who’s last shower had been the tears he had been crying at his last visit to the discothèque), the kitchen was more of a kitchenette, and the bathroom (even though it had the obvious plus of containing a bathtub, which was a luxury that I sorely missed in the apartment) was iddy biddy.
It needed work. It needed loving. But it had potential. So we applied. We even asked if the landlord would be OK with us getting some chickens and a dog.
Within two days, we’d received word that we had been approved for the house – chooks and dog included.
Then came the whirlwind of the move – the packing, the cleaning, the shifting, the organising helpers and fielding those who genuinely wanted to help, but were better at getting underfoot than actually being helpful (Bless them!). We moved on Good Friday – it was a long, exhausting day, but everything was more or less moved from the apartment into the house on that day. My parents and brother delivered the last of the boxes from the apartment on Easter Sunday.
For the first week of living in our new home, I resigned myself to the fact that I would never again leave the house, merely because I couldn’t get to the front door for all the boxes. If packing had been a nightmare, unpacking was hell. I spent days on end unpacking like a lunatic, and still felt like I was getting nowhere. And as it turned out, our two gloriously large yards weren’t so much made up of grass as they were made up of khaki burrs. I cursed and raged endlessly against those damned burrs, as I pulled them out of my towels, my feet, my socks, my underwear and my hair. They even found their way into our bed! Dave would come home from work and swear that he could see progress. Even though I couldn’t see it, the number of boxes dwindled (and the box mountain growing beside our outdoor bins increased exponentially), so I was inclined to believe him in the end.
The day I unpacked the final box was one of pure joy!
While I absolutely hated the moving experience, and bitched incessantly about how dirty the house was when we moved in, about the less-than-rad funk that I had to air out of the place, and the perpetual pricks of burrs everywhere, I have grown to love the house that Dave and I now recognise as our first “together” home. It was a place that we chose, inspected and moved into together. It is a place filled with us, where we can continue to create our own memories, and shape our own lives.
This place has provided us with a safe zone to learn more about one another, and to learn more about ourselves. In the almost two months that we’ve been here, Dave has helped me to identify triggers and responses to my anxiety that I hadn’t connected before, and I have learned that my anxiety is not something that I must keep to myself at all times. Dave has learned when I tell him “I’ve got your back,” I mean it, 100% without doubt. We have laughed so hard we’ve cried. We’ve been bone-tired, but have rejuvenated one another with our shared presence. We have settled comfortably and completely into a space that is our own.
And now, as I sit in the lounge room of our home, and listen to Dave making bird calls in the bathtub, I can’t help but be struck by the realisation that I am an incredibly lucky woman.
I have the rather horrible tendency to get comfortable with someone, and forget to express my appreciation for them. So I hope to God that I remember to show my gratitude often enough so that Dave continues to know just how much I appreciate having him in my life. For the first time since I moved out of my parents house, I have found home again.
And there’s no other place like it.
“I believe that all of our lives we’re looking for home – and if we’re really lucky, we find it in someone’s loving arms. I think that’s what life is – coming home.”
– Anita Krizzan