Oh, yeah. We were killing this interview.
The landlord was a no-nonsense older woman who was just the kind of person you always want to impress and never want to piss off. She asked us about our jobs, our new marriage, our baby. She gave us compliments. We smiled and laughed. We were golden.
Then she stood. We sat forward eagerly, fingers itching for the lease-signing pen.
“The last thing I need to do is check your credit. I know the broker already did it, but I like to run a separate check. If everything looks good, then we’re all set."
She left us with our broker and his boss after telling them to “keep us entertained.”
And I thought, crap.
I’ll be honest. I was worried. Not because we’re wildly irresponsible people with horrible credit, but because we both graduated from rather expensive four-year universities and weren’t always as financially savvy and conscientious as we are now. So while we’ve been on top of our game, bills-wise, for years, our credit reports would surely clue her in to our troubles in the past.
After some interminable small talk, she re-entered the room. (Was it my imagination, or had her demeanor changed?) She said the computer was running slow. She could see our scores, but it wasn’t loading the rest of the report. She would be in touch with us the following week. Thanks for coming in.
“If you need anything else from us, we’re happy to provide it," Eric responded. “Everything else is good, right? Our income?"
I glanced at him out of the corner of my eye, concerned. Eric is the king of chill in situations like this. And he looked a bit…un-chill.
She assured us that everything else looked great. With nothing else to say or do, we left, completely deflated. I could not imagine the torture that awaited us for the next five to seven days.
“I heard her talking,” Eric said as soon as the door shut behind us. “She’s concerned about our debt. She was trying to figure out a way to let us down gently."
“Are you sure?” No way. Not again. Not when we were this close. “You heard her say that?"
“Yeah, I could hear them talking in the next room."
We still had money waiting for us at Western Union. My sister - she had been texting my dead phone. The world somehow kept spinning, even as our entire lives were being rocked by this stern woman with the curly blond hair who apparently weighed us and found us wanting. We trudged silently back to the Pay-O-Matic. Eric sent a text to the broker, repeating that we would do whatever was necessary to get an approval. Pay another month, if necessary. Whatever.
Several steps later, he got a phone call. It was the broker. I watched his face split into a smile as he spoke.
“Oh, my god. That’s awesome. Thank you."
“Yes? Is it a yes?!” I exclaimed, although it was pretty obvious. He nodded.
I burst into tears.
Then, as is the way of the world, everything in the universe conspired against our speedy return to that little office.
- The camera at the Western Union couldn’t recognize my face the first few times the teller tried to verify my identity.
- The teller at my bank misunderstood our request, and then took about sixteen years to correct it and give us the cash and checks we needed.
- Eric’s Uber app supplied us with the most incompetent driver imaginable who had no idea where to go when we desperately needed him to show us the meaning of haste.
Despite these setbacks, and after a tiny white lie (being pregnant offers valuable perks, like when you need an excuse for slowness), we were back, we were initialing and signing, we were nodding, and smiling, and we were approved. We got the apartment. We got the apartment.
We got the apartment.