It’s humbling and inspiring when friends appear when they’re needed most. When my daughter and I moved into a new home, almost 20 years ago, after my marriage ended, friends stopped by to check it out.
They looked through the vacant rooms and commented, “It’s a great place, but you need some furniture.” Someone suggested I buy myself a bed, rather than sleeping on the ancient couch I bought from the previous owner for $100.
My next-door neighbor brought over a tiny round end table he’d made in his wood shop as a housewarming gift. His wife later confided, “He looked through your windows and came home with the saddest look. I asked him what was wrong and he replied, ‘That woman and her daughter moved in there without a lick of furniture.'”
A friend’s four year-old gleefully ran from one end of the house to the other, made a circuit through the dining room into the kitchen and back, while his mother suggested a good place to buy a stove. Another brought two house plants and takeout. Yet another suggested I refinish the deck before winter.
I gradually “undecorated” the walls, after another friend noted that the interior reminded her of a dollhouse, with different wallpaper in each room. The foyer had aqua American eagles and opened on one end to a hall with busy floral-striped wallpaper in shades of dusty rose and ecru. One bath had bright yellow faux-brick linoleum and Windex blue fixtures. The other had the same linoleum in shades of avocado, that matched the fixtures. I could go on, ad nauseum, but I won’t.
I hoped to live there forever, but I was forced to leave it behind 10 years ago. I’m not sure my daughter has forgiven me. I know I haven’t forgiven myself. I acted out of fear and that fear has followed me to each new dwelling I’ve occupied since I handed over the keys and tried to forge a new life, yet again.
This time, I won’t repeat my mistake. My friends not only helped me find a new home, they helped me move. “Throw away those boxes after they’re unpacked,” they said.
I fight the fear and follow their advice.