As I have mentioned earlier, in November 2014 I had taken a huge step and bought a house.
It felt like a necessity at first. We had shared our row house with the Knight’s mother, with us living at the ground floor, and her having the upper floor to herself. I would have been perfect – she and I got along well and my daugher was very close to her grandmom – if it wouldn’t have been for one detail: she smoked. A lot. It was all over the house, in our rooms as well. And she could not stop, not when I got pregnant, not even when the baby was finally here and I begged her in tears to try and stop. She just didn’t believe in herself, said she would never be strong enough. Maybe she also did not want to, but I refuse to think that she would rather let go of us than of the cigarettes.
So with a heavy heart I went on the quest for a house for my family.
It should be on the countryside and have a big garden, just like where I grew up. I also wanted something that had already been lived in, something with a story and people holding it dear.
One day, after months of searching, I visited this house and fell for it immediately: the ornate front door, the marble staircase, the dark wood paneling on the ceiling, the generously sized garden, leading all the way back to a creak which marked the backyard border of the property. It had character. I could imagine myself living here.
When I came back home, the Knight called out from behind his desk: “So? How was it?” I remained silent. He looked up from his computer, saw me and said with a sigh: “You love it, right?”
So we bought it. I had some money from my inheritance and my father’s name opened all the doors to a loan, though my position in academic science is neither the most secure nor the most well paid.
We decided to take it slow, maybe get some minor renovations done before we moved in. But then, slowly at first, everything went downhill.
At first, the Knight, being the typical city kid, found things to nag about in every corner. He lacked the serenity to minor imperfections that people like me, who had grown up in a big house, possessed. He was driving me crazy. As time went on, we discovered things that REALLY needed repair, thing we had not been aware of when we bought the house. The lady who sold the house had been so likeable, had told us a story about how she had bought the house for herself some years ago but now unfortunately had to move somewhere else. I did not see how much of a fraud she was. The windows were not as new as she had claimed and some did not close properly, some of the piping was broken, the kitchen was ancient. She had definitely never intended to live here.
I was so sad and angry and felt so helpless, I pushed matters aside for weeks, just in order to not to have to think about it. Selling again was not an option, because I expected to only get a fraction of the money for it if we did not lie like the lady who sold it had done. I consulted my lawyer, a friend of my father, who advised me against taking legal actions, because there was so little written down, it would be my word against the lady’s. There was basically nothing I could do. I had been so naive as to walk into the lady’s trap. How could I ever live in a house that now seemed to me so hostile?
In early 2015 I noticed that each month there was only very little money left on my account.