Text, 10:53 pm: We ran your credit and it looks good!
Needless to say, between our resulting euphoria and feverish planning, we didn’t get much sleep last night. His alarm went off at 6:15, cheerful and bright. Today was the day. There was a laundry list of tasks to be done, logistics to figure out, pieces that would need to fall into place at exactly the right time to make this a success. But we had prayed. We had claimed it. Now we just needed to take it.
I went with him to his office so we could fill out the landlord’s application and send some supporting documents. We both had doctor’s appointments right afterward, followed by the lease signing at noon. In the meantime, we needed to coordinate some financial matters so that we would have everything prepared when the time came. And like most monumental, life-changing events, each minute brought another crisis, closely followed by its solution.
CRISIS: My bank doesn’t do same-day wire transfers.
SOLUTION: Use Eric’s bank.
CRISIS: Eric’s bank was not easily accessible from where the money needed to come from.
SOLUTION: Western Union.
CRISIS: We only have 14 minutes to get the money and the certified checks and I’m still waiting for the money and then I need to get all the way to my bank and wait in line for the checks.
SOLUTION: We can't push the appointment back. Make it work.
SOLUTION: Our meeting at 12 pm is not actually a lease signing, it’s an interview with the landlord. If, and only if we’re approved, THEN we go get the checks from the bank.
Needless to say, this solution was not quite the reassurance I’d been seeking.
So, with ten minutes to go, I left the Western Union where I had stationed myself and began speed walking back to the apartment building where our meeting would take place. I checked Google Maps every few steps, because if you know anything about me, you know that I have an awful sense of direction and can quickly find myself lost, even while attempting to follow a map as fool-proof as Google Maps. Stay with the blue dot, I repeated to myself, huffing and puffing in the frigid air. My phone was at 20% - not ideal, but it would do. Eric was at my bank, making the journey to the same building after we agreed to wait to get the money until after we’d received a firm yes. I had just finished applying a hasty layer of lip stain, attempting to make myself presentable, when he called to ask where I was. His cross streets were not my cross streets, but my map said I was in the right place.
I repeated the address to him, and he confirmed that it was correct. I immediately went into panic mode, imagining that I had once again flubbed up and ended up far from where I needed to be. I didn’t look at the time. My heart was already racing, and my stress would not make the minutes crawl backwards, no matter how fervently I might have wished it.
“Where are you now?"
“Let me call you back?” I squeaked, looking around me in dismay.
“What are your cross streets?” he demanded.
“Hang on, let me call you back!” I hung up and checked the map with trembling fingers. I was in the right place! So wait - why wasn’t he here? I closed the Maps app and clicked the phone icon as I continued to jog down the sidewalk toward my destination. It was a nondescript apartment building. The moment that I realized I had no idea which apartment to buzz, and that Eric probably had that information, I looked down see my phone screen go black.
“NO,” I spat, shaking it, pressing all the buttons, hysteria closing in. The blinking white carousel of death mocked me, mocked my anguish, mocked my life. “You were at TWENTY PERCENT! YOU CANNOT DIE!!!"
My phone was dead. In one heart-stopping second, it turned back on, and then immediately shut off again.
I was inside the building, trapped between the front door and the vestibule door, staring at a row of silver buttons, with no idea what to do next. Eric was probably furious and bewildered at my silence. The landlord and broker were probably waiting, each minute that ticked by another point against us. And, to add insult to this insurmountable mountain of injury, I could see an outlet on the wall just beyond the locked door before me. I screamed in frustration, then jabbed the button for the super of the building, hoping, praying, anything, pleaseGodplease.
They picked up.
“Hello, I’m here for an appointment with the landlord of another building?” I warbled. Did that make sense? I didn’t even know the landlord’s name. I braced myself for a question I couldn’t answer, or a laugh, or a click.
“Unit 1I,” the voice intoned, and buzzed the door open.
I stood for a moment in shock before yanking the door open and rushing inside. And then I immediately began to pace. Where was Eric? Where was 1I? Should I wait for him? Should I charge my phone? I didn’t even know what time it was. I looked to the door in desperation, and there he was, a vision of glory, my breath of relief. And he looked pissed.
“My phone died! It died!!!"
I’m sure we exchanged more words, but that moment is a blur, we were both at the very peak of our respective frustration, so they probably meant very little anyway. After a pointless, clueless trip to the basement, we found the correct door, we were inside, we were in the office, we were seated and we were on.