We loaded up our little secondhand car (nicknamed “Hubbley-bup”) with all of our possessions, feeling proud that the packing each month for each city gets a little tighter, a little slicker, a little faster. Proud that we keep chunking material goods away with a nonchalant, “We don’t really need that.” The first round move, when D left New York to sail solo across the ocean and I parked myself in a sublet to wait and worry, was a debacle. Now I’ve got it down to a science. 30 minutes to tuck everything away.
The drive from Belgium was alternately quietly drizzly and stormy. Both of us were quiet and wrapped up in our anxiety about how this apartment would look and whether we’d even be afforded the chance to like it. Real estate roulette. After Anthony-from-California pulled a disappearing act on Saturday along with his apartment, we knew it was a possibility that we were driving for 5 hours for no reason. When the phone beeped to tell us that it held a message, my heart sank. No need, though. It was only a warning that the landlord-to-be was running late. So we arrived an hour early for the original appointment, scurried around in the rain trying to check out this famously trendy area with its mélange of inhabitants, then gave up and sought refuge in the car for the last hour. At ten till the hour we rushed to the building’s front door. “Should we wait for her outside?” No. She’d given us the code for the first door. We went into the vestibule and pushed the buzzer with her name on it. A few seconds passed, and nothing happened. A lady happened along, and we both whirled towards her with hopeful expressions on our faces. Are you…? No, sorry.
A minute later a teeny, dark-haired girl bustled into the doorway laden with bags and packages, and this time the response was affirmative. I tried to be careful not to show my excitement, since I hadn’t seen anything inside yet. But she was friendly and casual and easy-going, all things that the others had not been. She didn’t demand a gazillion papers. She just pointed out a few things that were quirks of the place and asked if we thought we’d like to take it? It was so easy. I stopped holding my breath.
And now we live in Paris.