Looking for an apartment in New York City is like being in the middle of the ocean all on your own. Depending on how well you do that first couple of times you’re looking for a place, you’re either floating on a dingy or a yacht. I hoped by the end of the day I’d be floating so high up from sea level, I’d be in the clouds.
The hardest task is where to start. I barely knew anything about looking for a place. When Chloe and I decided to move in together it was she that did pretty much all the legwork. A place in New York City now, all on my lonesome, was something else. Daniel was working on overdrive to land this promotion in the next few weeks and I didn’t want to be that meddling girlfriend that wouldn’t even let her boyfriend breathe. I wanted him to land this promotion all on his own accord because I felt like it’d be the one thing that’d be going up in his life right now. This isn’t to say he was unhappy; it’s to say that I think he felt like he wasn’t exactly succeeding in all aspects of his life has he’d hoped and initially planned. Losing Jade was definitely the hardest thing to deal with, that’s for sure, but it’s the fact that he tried so hard to keep her alive that he seemed almost responsible for her death. A responsibility he shouldn’t feel; no person should.
So as a gift for a first time apartment shopper in the Big Apple, Paul lent me his realtor on the condition that he tag along for the ride and that I listen to what he has to say. To which I conditioned that I can listen but didn’t have to do everything he said.
“Fine by me, honey,” he said, looping one arm through mine and then waving his other in the air at each word.
“I’m kind of nervous,” I said, my stomach churning.
“Oh you have to be darling,” he said, hardly comforting. “New York real estate is cutthroat. You have better luck finding a cure for cancer than you do finding an apartment. But don’t worry so much; this is why we have Abraham Brahms.”
My brows knitted together. “Abraham—who?”
The realtor, Abraham Brahms, was the lankiest polished Polish-German I had ever seen. His straight white hair was slicked back; no hair out of place and I am talking white-white. Like whiter than rice white! He had very few lines of age crossing his face, a sallow face, and thin lips in a tight line. As I got closer to him I noticed clear-framed wiry glasses hanging low on the tip of his nose. He held a folder in his hands, leather, expensive, I felt so out of place.
“Brahms,” Paul beamed.
Brahms cracked the tiniest of smiles. “Paul. How are you my son?”
Son? I wondered. And in a pinch, Paul answered as if he were reading my mind. No, they weren’t father and son. Pity, I would’ve loved to see a good father and son relationship work.
“Brahms took care of me when I first moved to New York City. He’s my father’s friend. The rich among rich tend to feed of each other’s energy and become even richer.”
“Such is the circle of life,” Brahms said, eyeing me up and down in a pouted-dissatisfied look. His voice had a strange mix of German and American, I hardly heard any Polish but then again, I don’t actually fully know what a Polish person sounded like. Brahms’ words came out sharp and deliberate, with much purpose and deep-rooted wise knowledge that I figured he was expecting someone of his calibre than little ‘ol me; and that’s why he seemed disappointed. Either way, he was still getting paid. Wasn’t he? They were old friends so maybe Paul somehow worked out a deal.
“Where would you like to start?” Brahms asked me.
I glimpsed Paul and realised I was on my own on this. “Umm…”
Brahms sighed. “Let’s start with what you’re looking for in a home.”
“In a home? Umm, I want floorboards if I can, roomy if possible, umm—”
“Honey, honey, honey,” Brahms put up his hand palm facing me and rolled his eyes, “every New Yorker wants room and floorboards and a shower head that rained water from the waterfalls of the Amazon. I’m asking what you consider home. What is home to you?”
Hmmm…what is home to me?
“Do you want to have children?” I asked one night while I was laying over Daniel’s bare chest. I was glad he wasn’t laying over mine since my heart was pumping like a nervous little girl stealing from a grocery store.
“Where’s this question coming from?”
I shrugged, peering up at him. “Just because I want to be fair to you.”
His brows went down. “Fair? Fair how—what do you mean?”
I chewed on my lip. “Well, I just don’t know if I want to have children. I haven’t felt that spark of absolutely needing to have a baby, and I’m worried. I don’t want to bring you down or anything.”
Daniel chuckled, caressing my cheek. “You’re so sweet. Don’t worry, I think there’s this stigma about having kids. Too young and you’re that disappointing teen mother; too old and you’re pressured into it in the end to might not get a chance. It’s hard. I reckon it’s harder for women more than men too. Well…” he pondered.
I lifted a brow. “Let’s not get into that debate.”
We laughed. “Okay,” Daniel started, “children…I don’t know either.”
I lifted my head off his chest in surprise. “Really?” Wasn’t expecting that answer.
He shrugged. “Jade really wanted me to have kids so she could have grandkids, something to be proud of. Anyway, when she died, I felt the need to have kids go along with her and I realised it was all for her in the first place. I can’t have kids for anyone but myself, otherwise, I’d resent the fact that I did and anyone involved and I don’t want that to happen. I don’t know if I want kids either, right now I don’t. But I definitely, one hundred and forty per cent know that I want to marry you. One day. How’s that for an answer?”
I smiled, blushing. “Pretty good.”
He leaned down to press his lips on mine, and for a second there, both our necks were craned at weird and discomforting angles for a tender moment.
“I’m sorry I’m not ready yet,” I said. “As ready as you are.”
Daniel shook his head. “Don’t be. I’m not.”
***I’m curious to know, what’s home to you\how do you define your version of a home? Also, I’m proud to announce that my 200th post is coming up! Any suggestions on what you’d like to see? (e.g. a BONUS post, a post where I answer your questions, etc.). BONUS for Samson&Delilah coming up soon! Soul xo***