• Cate

The End of the Journey

I’m not sure everyone gets the chance to learn the lessons I’ve learned throughout this journey. I led myself to a place where I was forced to reckon with what was within me and I prevailed. It was no small feat.

Life has a funny way of showing you things. The farther I journey along my path, the more real the world becomes. But at the same time, certain things just don’t make sense anymore. It’s as though I’ve taken off my sunglasses and am now faced with the full intensity of life.

That perfect job started to not be so perfect. It was kind of an abrupt change. One moment, everything was wonderful and I felt like I was in a good place. The next I was completely out of my element. It deteriorated from there.

But I was trying to be optimistic. I had started looking for a house and that felt good. I was matched with a realtor and we spoke on the phone. He was such a kind and gentle person, it was easy to feel safe. I knew I’d found my realtor.

I had a lot of fun looking for houses. My realtor was a perfect gentleman. After a couple weeks, he tossed out some of the rules and really started to teach me what to look for. We put a couple offers in and they were denied. I felt deflated.

We went out searching one day and it started out well. I had started to look forward to house hunting on Sundays. My realtor was so kind to me, I had developed a huge crush on him, in spite of myself.

I’d had food poisoning a few days earlier, but had mostly recovered. We looked at a house and there was a dead mouse that had clearly been there for some time. We moved on. We had a lot of fun looking at the next one. It was huge, but still in my price range. There were some quirky things about it.

As we were walking out of the house, I started to feel light headed. We sat on the steps for a few minutes so I could catch up. I felt bad about the time, but he told me not to rush, to take my time. It was an adorable neighborhood and there was so much charm. It was a beautiful day.

We had two more houses to look at, but by the next house, I had become too weak to walk much. My realtor drove us to the last house, but I couldn’t even walk it. He took a video and showed me, but I knew we’d already found the house.

I went home and thought about it. Then I texted him and told him I wanted to put in an offer. They counter offered, then we countered them and they agreed. Then we had an inspection done and my realtor negotiated the price down even more. The house had become the perfect price.

So there I was, on my way to owning the perfect home. It had four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a huge kitchen, and space for everyone, including me. I began making plans for fixing up and furnishing the house. The wheels were in motion.

Work continued to deteriorate and I was overwhelmed. My boss clearly wasn’t pleased with me. The harder I tried, the more she found wrong with what I was doing. I couldn’t win for losing. I put in for time off and just held on until closing day.

Closing day arrived and my ex-husband was apparently starting work late that day. I lied and told him I was working from home. I hate to lie. I really do. But this was big. He finally left and I had 15 minutes to spare. The car was already filled with cleaning supplies. I added some chairs and some other things and drove to my almost house. My realtor was there already and he was in a great mood. He was arguably more excited than I was. He had caught the energy of the moment. He knew what this meant for me. I was a nervous wreck.

I was scared. This was a big deal. This was it. This was what I was working for. This meant so much for me and for every woman who had tried to leave. I had really done it. We walked the house and I could hardly speak.

We drove to the title place and I closed on my house. My realtor handed me the key. I’d already bought a key ring. I was smiling and crying at the same time. I did it! I bought a house! I was going to be free for real! For really real!

My realtor walked me to my car. I had gotten him a gift and gave it to him. I hugged him and felt sad to be letting him go. I really had enjoyed spending time with a man who treated me with respect. I’m not sure I’ve experienced that before.

I said goodbye and got in my car. I drove to my house and parked in the driveway. I walked up to my front door. I fumbled with the key in the lock. I walked into the house. I stood in my living room and collapsed to my knees and cried. I made it. I was finally home.

I grabbed a bottle of champagne from the car and poured myself a cup. I sat on the kitchen c

ounter and let it sink in. It wasn’t sinking in. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe I’d done it.

I cleaned the bathroom and a few other things and then picked up Mina and Parker from school. We sat and enjoyed the house for awhile. There wasn’t anything in it yet, so there wasn’t really much to do. But we were just happy to have it.

We were still playing the role of family though and were careful not to give away too much about the house. Over the next week, I bought paint and furniture and started working on the house.

Finally it was moving day and I was nervous as hell. I had broken down and hired movers. I’d already spent too much and my credit cards were mad at me, but what could I do? I was under a time crunch. The house had needed a lot of love before we could move in.

My Aunty Jody showed up and so I took the kids and the cat to the new house. It took a bit to get everyone settled. I rushed back to the house, but the movers were already there. Luckily, I had help!

My best friend, Joel, showed up with one of his other friends, Kelsey. They were wonderful! They were so cheerful and were great with the movers. We worked hard as a team and got as much out as we could. The movers left and we started loading up cars. We sat down to rest and discuss food.

I started to get emotional. Joel said, “This is not over! I will support your tears when the day is done. Keep it together!”

I was grateful! I pulled myself together and Joel and Kelsey went off in search of brunch and mimosas. Bless them!

The movers were fabulous and they got everything in. I had a lot left to do at the old house, but at least all the big stuff was out. My cat was at my new house. That meant it was finally home.

Jody had to run off to help her son, so I was left with the kids for awhile. We kind of shoved some things around for awhile, but eventually, we just all sat down and looked around. Those kids would never set foot in the old house again. They never went back.

Joel and Kelsey showed up with brunch and mimosas and the day was perfect. My house was a mess and it was going to take me forever to put it together. But I had forever to do it! And what wonderful friends! I was so grateful.

Then I got a text message. It was from my ex-husband. He had stopped home for lunch and found the house a mess and most of our stuff gone. That wasn’t how I’d meant for it to happen. But he said he wasn’t mad. He just didn’t want to lose his daughter.

I never intended to keep his daughter from him. He loves her and though he can get frustrated with her, he really does his best to be a good father to her. I told him I would work with him. I told him I didn’t want to fight. I wasn’t going to make it difficult for him.

Maybe that was the best way for it to happen, because we never really got into it. His mom had thrown away most of what was left by the time I got back to the house again. In the end, it was her that I was most afraid of. She was the one who could do the most damage. She stepped in and took control of him the moment I left. I truly felt sorry for him.

It hadn’t really sunk in for any of us yet. We had moved. We were free. But life had to go on and we weren’t quite ready for that. I went back to work, the kids started to try to wrap their heads around public transportation, and the cat hid behind the dryer.

It was inevitable. Though it was such a happy occasion, though the journey was finally coming to an end, there was bound to be mayhem. And mayhem ensued.

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