Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Nov 18

By South Dakota Avenue I Sat Down and Wept

This is my last Monday night in my murky, beloved English basement apartment in Mt. Pleasant — blue carpet, ill-considered Sun-Drenched Denim walls. Not that there is any magic about Monday. I just popped across the street to the liquor store to buy Diet Coke and paused a moment to savor the hummus selection in the cold case. I can’t believe I’m moving — AGAIN — to a neighborhood where all the bodegas have bulletproof glass and off-brand paper products.

One step forward or two steps back? I bought a house in one of the most expensive and competitive real estate markets in the country. It’s a sweet little duplex with a sunny addition on the back. I am incredibly, almost unimaginably fortunate that I was able to do it. And this is what adults do, right? We buy houses and pore over samples of white paint (I went with Ivory Glow, a peachy and nearly pearlescent cream that I hope will, well, glow in the sun that streams through my new skylight.) (Home inspector: There are two kinds of skylights: the kind that leak and the kind that don’t leak yet.)

I closed on Friday, and it was anti-climactic. My real estate agent said that means this isn’t my dream home, and I was stunned that he thought that was even an option. That I should have a dream of any sort come true! Ha! Halfway through the process, as I waited to sign my name for the umpteenth time, he passed me his phone to look at a funny news article about a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey that tested positive for herpes. His eyes are, coincidentally, a kind of sun-drenched denim blue. We totally hit it off from the moment we met. Somewhere between my offer being accepted and closing I realized that a big part of the reason I liked my new house so much is because he was always in it with me. He talks a lot about his girlfriend. I’m sure she is lovely, slim and tidy and responsible. I have a feeling they will get married.

I am on guard, lately, against the idea that everyone else’s happiness is robbing me of a chance at mine, that we are all in constant competition for an increasingly scarce amount of sweetness in life. One of the many things I don’t want to be is bitter. I don’t want to give up. I don’t want to cry when friends get engaged or pregnant. I want to be purely happy for them, and I want to feel how lucky I am that my slice of the pie is so decadent — my family, my friends, my cushy job, my beloved Jeep, my new house, my trip to Mexico over Christmas with my mom and sister. It’s a glut, really, an embarrassment of riches. Intellectually, I know this.

I bet there is a word, probably German, for this condition of having so very much and yet never getting the thing you really want. Sauergrapesen, perhaps. Bratseben.

Lieu emailed me twice this summer, chatty little missives you wouldn’t think could come from someone so fiercely intelligent, given the reality of our situation. I finally did a little Google stalking and figured out that he recently bought a house on a lovely block in Bloomingdale, new hipster paradise, with a woman I am too much of a feminist to describe as horse-faced. I would have liked to own a house in Bloomingdale, but you know, for a single person, the prices are completely prohibitive. With two incomes, it’s a different story. A happier one, I’d imagine. I cannot be your casual email pal, I told him. Hearing from you does not make me happy. Please don’t contact me any more. When I met him, he couldn’t have found Bloomingdale with GPS. He was a suburban kid who’d never lived in DC and never wanted to; the city intimidated him. I’m glad I left him better than I found him. I guess. I hope she appreciates the hard work I put in, because Lord knows he never did.

I feel like when you buy a house that costs as much money as mine did — especially when you could very well have remained, as you once were, a night-shift worker in a junk mail factory or a waitress in a trashy bar on a manmade lake — you should have an orgasm. Not at the closing table, obviously, but shortly thereafter, on the floor of your new house, sweaty and fearful and exhilarated and, most crucially, not alone. The day I bought my house, I went to Home Depot by myself and bought paint samples, and oh I know, truly I do, that I was lucky to be there and buy that paint, in this great city in this great nation in this great era of western civilization. To think anything less is so hubristic and ungrateful it;s immoral.

I just get so lonely sometimes, and I’m so very tired of it.


10 Responses to “By South Dakota Avenue I Sat Down and Wept”

  1. Laurie B says:


  2. Megan McK says:

    I understand getting lonely. There was a period of time where I hated beautiful, sunny weekend days, because it felt like everyone in the world was out and about with a group of friends, laughing and having fun, and yet there I was, alone in my house in my pajamas, waiting for anyone to call and invite me along. My mistake, of course, was waiting for others to call me, but that’s beside the point. What I wanted to say was how awesome it is that you responded to Lieu the way you did. You may be lonely, but you’re strong.

  3. new neighborhood, new contacts, new chance at everything… this town is small…but our neighborhoods are enclaves and you might be surprised how much it seems like a new town…with all the new possibilities that that brings..

  4. asplenia says:

    Goddamn you’re such a good writer. I can feel this post in my bones.

    It’s so awful when our loves move on with others. I don’t think logic can ever help us cope with that emotionally.

  5. rooth says:

    Firstly, let’s not let the loneliness detract from the accomplishment of buying a home because that’s a big deal that deserves champagne and dancing on the table. Secondly, girl I hear you on the loneliness. But then, I remember that lonely feeling you get when cocooned in a safe place, a too-safe place I should say, and I’d rather be lonely. The melancholy makes better writers (at least that’s what I tell myself)

  6. phnx65 says:

    I agree with Megan. You are SO strong. Something I am not. I don’t yet have the guts to have that conversation with The Marine. I want to – Lord knows I want to, but I’m a wuss. You are not, and THAT is one of the things I hope you love most dearly about yourself. I don’t know you at all, but I love you for that. You are a beacon for so many of us not yet able to go there… Congrats on closing, and I can’t wait for pictures of this glowing paint. :) Be well….

  7. Sophie says:

    I hope things are going well in your new home, and that your long absence is due to a kind of happy business. Would love to see another post.

  8. Lynn says:

    How are you? I hope you are well. I wish you would write. Occasionally I pop by just to check, but nothing for months now. And so I actually comment, when I never have before! I wish you would write.

  9. saf says:

    I miss reading you. I hope all is well.

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