It got to the stage when one is forced to wonder if it was worth it! The idea had been maturing for a while, it had got to the point when it is either put to action or discarded like a soiled nappy. “It’s now or never!” She said, and I who must listen and obey replied: “Yes dear.” As crucial admission of what was resting on my shoulders.
So I called upon the grace of God and soon after engaged the service of an expert. Which one would be the better to facilitate the deed would be hard for me to tell, though I was well aware the first would be free of charge of course, the second, a human qualified in Real Estate, only offering a resolve for a considerable fee.
He was big this big man. His smile so genuine to truly erase any fear of malpractice or doom. He wished to see everything, ask land and room sizes and of any encumbrances that may prevent capturing a buyer’s best offer. He walked around in circles, suggested a few hints to give the place the greatest appeal and then concluded by negotiating a fee.
I stayed on tender hooks. But not her, for she was making coffee as if being a good host would gain extra discount and increased returns.
The big man continued to smile, his briefcase open, pen ready to add, to compile and present; not too different from the master painter that sees the tree in need of a few extra fronds and the sooty chimney that is there to expel smoke.
It was a tidy and brief affair. He even made Mary believe she was in charge. And though Mary would never stand for the tiniest of scuffmarks, I saw the writing on the wall.
We signed on the dotted line, excited it would be the next if not the final chapter in house marketing. More coffee was drunk and further convivial issues aired: the state of the market, the inexorable rising of house values and how the trade had been flooded by people that sold properties as if selling cars.
“What’s the difference?” I asked. With him looking back at me as if I had just seen a forked tongue while his mouth was open.
“A vast difference… since a car is an object and a home has a soul.”
“I see.” I said. Feeling my foot being kicked under the table.
It was only six days later that the big man came up with the first offer.
“Ridiculous!” Both Mary and I replied.
Then three days afterwards another proposition, this time by phone late in the evening when we were watching footy.
“Well done!” We yelled.
“I’ll be there in the morning.” His voice projecting an enormous shade, as if words were painted on a blue sky without the wind that tends to dissipate their meaning.
We went back to watch footy, having forgotten who was playing who or what the scores were. And what the heck was the commercial all about when the woman screamed –I’m not happy, Jane!
The house sold in just over one week, the offer had been close to our wildest dream, and since we felt God had had a part in it, Mary and I were ready to give thanks. –Dear God, we implored, thank you for the past, but now let us have some more of your help for the future.
Had He been listening, or hovering nearby, He would have laughed.
We signed papers, countersigned exclusions and made sure the conveyancer was to our liking.
Forty seven days remained. Days in which we had to look for another residence, pack everything that accrues in a quarter of a lifetime and daydream about new furniture to replace the old, as well as the space required for whatever we had a need to keep. Also seek the removalist to make it all happen. And yet, even though we were diligent with small details and tiddly facts, we could not foresee the enormous pressure Mary and I were under. For at each post there would the next, without respite or a flimsy light at the end of the tunnel. Some furniture was advertised, Gumtree to the rescue, but for a pittance of what was really worth. Some other items were disposed through the Salvo’s and other stuff given to family and friends. Some of small intrinsic value, other pieces of sentimental worth. All this because we had to restrict our belongings to fit a two bedroom apartment and not the thirty five square house we had been accustomed to. With only a fortnight left before the move, I began to despair. I counted stacks of packed cardboard boxes taking the entire floor of the garage, estimated the space required for what furniture we had to take and came to the sad conclusion no amount of preying could fit this into that!
More decisions had to be made! Do we really need the bed? Why not keep the mattress and buy a new one once there? And what about the monstrous tall-boy and bedside tables? The other bedrooms furniture would also be an encumbrance, so why not give it to the Salvos?
Little by little I convinced Mary we would be better-off if we put the balance of our belongings on a diet, to further diminish the load and replace whatever needed once we moved in the apartment.
“As long as it is new!” She snapped. And I having to rely on the same reply I use when the least tempted to argue. “Yes, dear.”
The two young men working for the removalist turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Everything was made to fit the truck and nothing was damaged. If I had to give thanks to an entity, I would be confused on whom to thank: the big man? God? The removalist? Mary? Or even myself, for my back is aching and it will take weeks to come good again.