You didn’t just read this
Oh god, I shouldn’t be writing any of this down, I shouldn’t even be THINKING about it. I should spit three times, spin around counterclockwise, make the sign of the horns…what else? What do you do when you talk about a thing that you dearly, dearly hope comes to pass, but that you don’t dare talk about for fear of jinxing it?
The house is on the market again.
The tenants have gone out of town for a few weeks, and gave their permission to show it in their absence. So I hired a new realtor, and together she and I hired a cleaning team and a guy to do a couple of repairs and spiff up some of the paint and then we went over there and tidied a little bit ourselves. The tenants are much posher than I ever was. They have neat-o modern furniture, and trendy objêts lying around (silver antler candlesticks, decorative fedoras) and the house looks pretty good, if I do say so myself (ptooey! ptooey! ptooey!). The yard is covered in snow, otherwise known as Nature’s Staging–better snow than sticks and mud, which is basically what we’ve got going around here this time of year.
There wasn’t time to worry too much. There wasn’t any point in getting all worked up. Every time I started to get all worked up, I reined myself in with a very firm hand. Alone in the house the day before the first showing, I chanted Selling The House mantras as I windexed a few windows the cleaners had missed, wiped scuffs off the walls, polished doorknobs. We’ve lowered the price, I chanted. We fixed the fireplace. We upgraded the electricity. We replaced the furnace. I purposely avoided my old, desperate mantras (All Houses Sell Eventually! It Has To Sell! It Has To! It Simply Has To Sell!) because they made my throat close up in remembered panic. Besides, they didn’t work.
It was odd being back in the house. I’ve been inside several times since the tenants moved in, but never for long, and never alone. Now I wandered from room to room, floor to floor, in unconscious imitation of my old habits. I stared out my old bedroom window at consoling-windows friend’s house, across the snowy way. The house felt both familiar and deeply alien–I remembered what it was like to live there, but I couldn’t imagine living there any more. It hasn’t been that long since I moved out–just a little bit over a year–but being back in my old digs made me realize how much my life has improved since I left.
It’s not the house’s fault. It’s just a house. But god, I spent some unhappy years inside it. Moving out, I now realize, has been by far the best thing I’ve done since the marriage fell apart. There is something almost mystical about leaving the place where you spent the worst time of your life. Walking around our old house–ours, and then mine–felt like visiting the backdrop of an especially bleak and upsetting dream. I couldn’t put my finger on anything specific–though if I tried, I could certainly remember ghastly, horrible scenes that took place there and there and there. Mostly, I just felt unsettled and sad. And chilly. It’s a cold and drafty house anyway, and the thermostat was turned way down.
There have been several showings already (spit! Spin! Sign of horns!). We are waiting to hear offers, if indeed there are any offers (god, I’m out of counterjinxes! Help!) until Sunday. In the meantime, some more people are coming to look at it today, tomorrow, and over the weekend. A couple of people have come twice.
Now, forget I ever said a thing. And leave your counterjinxes in the comment section, please.