I loved him with everything in me, but he was no good for me. I already knew that, but it took me being in the midst of purchasing a home to fully understand what happened when our situationship failed and what I should learn from it.
I sat there staring at my home inspector, hurt and confused. Angry and disappointed. I couldn’t understand how the home that seemed so perfect was so damn flawed. I couldn’t understand why the seller would even put it on the market in that condition. Just to get someone’s hopes up and let them down. I mentally chastised the tears that knocked on my eyes wanting to come out. Not today. No tears today. Everything will be alright.
I thought about how I had been so excited just thinking about the future of my new home. How good it looked. How happy it would make me. I remembered how I walked in to look at it and just loved it. Everything looked renovated, and there damn near everything was new. You could even smell the fresh paint. There was hardwood and carpet in all their respective places, perfectly placed. It wasn’t overwhelmingly big, but not too intrusively small. I felt like it was the perfect fit. Before you knew it, we were under contract.
“Don’t forget to schedule the inspection.”
My realtor is the best for someone as forgetful as me, balancing my idealism with her realism. I made sure to schedule the inspection and eagerly waited for the day. Over the weekend, as I saw a few friends, I coyly let them in on what was happening. I spoke with a shy pride. Yea, I’m about to get a house, no big deal. But inside I was gushing. They were happy for me. I was happy for me. But soon, reality hit. Because life does that sometimes.
The inspector told me that this home that looked so amazing, smelled so amazing, and felt so amazing wasn’t so amazing at all. It was a mess. You name it, it was messed up. The roof, the plumbing, the deck, the termites. Every. Damn. Thing. The disbelief held me there frozen. But I had told everyone how great this house was. Showed them pictures, made plans for it. And now this man was telling me that this house, in the condition it was in, could not be MY house. Well damn. When I got home and sat thinking about what had just happened, my thoughts stumbled upon my ex, because somehow my rambling mind just HAS to find a connection in everything. See, earlier this year we were discussing the home we would buy together, raise our family in together, build a life in together. And here I was all over again. Emotionally homeless and completely disappointed. But emerging with a lesson learned.
Had I just jumped right in and committed to that house, I would have been out of luck sooner rather than later. What he been done to this home was nothing more than “cosmetic repairs” rather than renovation. All of these issues would have come up when it was much more difficult and much more costly to repair. Now, the seller must have known that house wasn’t ready to be sold. But they still tried. And if I was desperate for that house, like they probably were hoping, I would have bought it and taken the loss to fix it up myself. Much like with my ex.
He was fine on the outside, and even on the inside. But way deep down underneath, he was trying to sell me a heart that needed some repairs. I was ready to commit. Ready to redecorate the walls of his heart with mental pictures of our memories. Ready to let my perfume fill his lungs with every inhale. Ready to be his firm hardwood and his plush carpet at just the right moments. Ready to smell like home for him. A home with hot meals, hotter showers, back rubs, and peace. But what we were about to sign off on was the opposite. We were headed into a lifetime of repairs. At the time it was hard to see the blessing in him walking away. Hard to understand him cancelling the contract. But in retrospect he saved me, and saved us, from a great deal of hurt and pain down the line. And in reflecting on that, I can’t help but to reflect on myself. I asked a friend why someone would list a home with so many issues, and he told me that they do it because somebody will take it, out of genuine ignorance or out of ill-intent for its use. And I wondered about myself.
In the aftermath of the inspection, I thought to myself that at least I know what to look for in a house now. In the aftermath of the break-up I had thought that at least I know what to look for in a man. I sat and considered long and hard about what I desired in the next heart I choose to make my home. But what about my own heart? If an inspection was done on my heart today, what would the next man find? Is my heart “move-in ready”, or would I be giving it to someone “as-is”, setting them up for a lifetime of repairs and costing them something much more valuable than money in the long run?
Jaquetta Graham is a Baltimore-based spoken word artist and published author on a never ending journey to learn life’s lessons so she can give others the cheat sheets.