After weeks of coaching, begging and prepping, we sat in two hard chairs that anchored us. I was practically giddy, and had to find every measure of self control not to swing my legs or raise my hands up in the air every two seconds. Pookie sat to my right, smiling serenely, as he is wont to do in these types of situations. Watching him in his calm demeanor only made me antsier. This was huge…why was he not practically jumping off the chair like I was? Men!
The man who would control a lot of the proceedings was delayed. Why was I not surprised. After his one hint about being early, he was delayed. Finally, after much shuffling, and watching observers file in and take their seats in the incredibly shrinking office, it was time. Ahead of me was another couple, and as they responded to the rapid fire questions, and the final agreement, which sealed their fate, it was our turn.
I squeezed Pookie’s left arm to the point he had to shake me off. I had paperwork in my hands, ready to sign, yet I had to go by the ritual. Mister Controller looked directly at me, his eyes twinkling kindly for just a moment, before he masked his familiarity with business. He asked his first question, and when my hesitant answer wasn’t clear enough, he asked again. It seemed that I got the answer right the second time, because, before I knew it, he was declaring it – us - official.
My smile was huge. Sitting next to us was our witness, our biggest champion and encourager; he smiled briefly, before also turning businesslike. Between him and Mister Controller, Pookie and I experienced the anticlimax of what possibly was the biggest step into adulthood. Eleven days before I turned 30, and 174 days after Pookie turned 26, it was finally real.
I’ve often believed that had I remained in the village I grew up in, and if any of the young men weren’t completely turned off by the thought of marrying a black girl, I would probably be the mother of six or twelve, living in a home built and paid for by my (imaginary) husband’s backbreaking farmer’s work. Based on what I know of the village life, hardly ANY of the homes built in that little village is mortgaged. The men (and sometimes women and children) all work hard in the many acres of property where they’ve planted crops, and at harvest time, bring in a chunk of change that can go towards buying all the materials to build a home.
But I digress. My life is here, on this island I call home, and which I love dearly. It is the singularly most beautiful, exasperating, breathtaking, all-or-nothing kinda place that has my heart in its hands. It is home. And on October 20, Pookie and I made the big step in owning a piece of her. At an auction, which thankfully won’t have any karmic repercussions, Casa de Pookie became a reality. Pookie and I are homeowners, and thrilled to bits.
I could go on and on about the fact that we’re now in debt to the ears for the next X years - but this is a debt that I have always envisioned happening at some point in time. The fact is, my partner and I have worked hard and figured out early enough that we better get on the ownership bandwagon before it’s all out of our reach and completely off-budget. In reality, we’ve been quietly observing how things happen around us. Just a while back I read of someone who at the age of 20 was a brand new parent and homeowner. After the initial twinge of “How come I don’t have that?” you can’t help but be happy for that person. Especially after finding out how it all came about. How can you grudge someone the generous and fortunate parents who have in abundance and can give freely? I hope they appreciate every square inch of that home, from the roof to the foundation.
I’ve also seen those whose parents gave, and gave, and continue to give to. I’ve seen those gifts taken, used, chewed up and spit back out. There is just something about working for your own things that makes you appreciate it that much more. My mother couldn’t have given me much, other than life lessons that have molded my path, and taught me self reliance. My father gave me the benefit of the doubt, and an education. With that education, I have held on to jobs that have paid for my food, my shelter, and now, my mortgage.
Just in time for Christmas, Casa de Pookie will be loved, lived in and enjoyed. But most importantly, it will be appreciated for the valuable lessons it has taught us. I am sure there are much more lessons coming from our little home, but for now, I am happy to say I’m feeling quite grownup and happy now.
I know that this is not the typical Tia Chocolate story, but I just had to share with you readers this little (okay, huge) slice of my life. I’m also damned excited that Casa de Pookie is a reality! *huge grins*
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