"Of course, these numbers would look a lot different if you'd sold it in 2005 or 2006," he said with the bright kind of regret that makes you know he had a good year that year. He was nice enough -- more than nice, really -- the real estate agent. The knife didn't even cut that deep.
But it's not that easy to hear that my single largest investment (which was really supposed to be simply HOME) is going to be worth so much less than I'd thought, hoped, and scribbled idly on the back of so many envelopes. 44 years and this is the one thing I did right: buying low. 13 years ago, wrapped up in my first life, trying to build dreams.
What we went through there! The tries to procreate. The birth of our child, the opening of his dream studio out there past the mud. What we ripped up and destroyed: the channel above was for our only really big home improvement, his studio, the muddy trench where they'd lay the electrical conduit. Then the cancer, the numb, the passion, the hope, the surgeries, the failures over and over again. The little things, the shingles, the thrush, our child's first words, the times alone home when he was in the hospital. 2006 was the year he died, but the entire year was downhill fast, and sliding, and murky.
Time went on, that bubble burst, and now, more than trenches, I think of the tranches of debt that made up the CDOs into which most of us lost money, and homes, and security. The financial foundation that fell out from under us, or was shown to be missing. I didn't care much about that economy, though it was golden and blooming while my honey fell apart and broke before my eyes. I didn't notice that bubble of real estate money, which was real for some, briefly, grew and grew and then leaked some air in a series of small burps. It hardly mattered among everything else; I was falling in love again. A few hours after Lehman fell, in fact, we went out shopping for a diamond.
Widows are bulletproof, did you know? Or at least full of contempt for the small things, and after what we've been through, everything's small.
But that trench is the earth bleeding, a wound that had to be dug to build something new, a something new that was never fulfilled and will soon be sold. For so much less. And with it, I'd like to let go of all those disappointments, all those losses, and everything that didn't work well. I'd like to heal, and patch them all, but I wish I had a bigger band aid.