|Our First Home|
But, as people do, we came to want more: a little bit more room--primarily, we wanted the girls to have their own rooms--and when we considered the renovations that we wanted to do (and those that we needed to do) it started to feel impossible. All of our equity was tied up in the house, which was substantial since we bought the house when we were babies and the neighborhood (Cleveland Park) was still considered "dangerous" (read: mostly African Americans lived there). At the time, we lived directly across the street from a halfway house, and one of its residents would stand on the sidewalk out front like it was his job, shuffling from one foot to the other, making eye contact with nothing and everything. People made sure to lock their car doors when they came to our house, and they would even do that annoying thing where they double and triple check that it's locked with their key fobs. It was like, Jesus Christ, we get it. We were thrilled to be living there. We felt like children who had been given the keys to their parents' house for the weekend, except it was a weekend that never ended.
We lived there for eight years and put it on the market in October 2015. Within a week it sold sight unseen, for above our asking price, to a couple from New York. The real estate market in Nashville is no joke, so this is more common than you'd think.
We should have seen it coming. A month or two after we moved out, our old next door neighbor alerted us to the fact that the house seemed to have become an Airbnb. My heart caught in my throat, and I trawled Airbnb until I found it. Every last wall had been painted hospital white. In the kitchen, they'd hung an enormous American flag. I hate minimalism, and this was precisely why. Every single drop of personality had been wrung out of it. It was sad and plain and had clearly been misunderstood. I cried and cried. I posted on Facebook about it. Numerous people let me know I had no right to be sad (because being sad is totally a choice?), that this was what I had signed up for, etc. And I mean, obviously. But regardless, I was sad.
We still drive by the old house a couple times a month (we moved just a few miles away). They painted the blue front door (a photo of which is still, for the record, very popular on Pinterest) the color of baby diarrhea. We hear that lots of bachelorette parties go down there now. As a serial Craiglist shopper, I stumbled across several light fixtures and things that they sold off from the house, including that capiz shell chandelier from Pier 1 that they listed as "midcentury." I still miss that thing. When you brushed against it, it made a tinkling sound like it must sound when you brush against an angel's wings.
We loved you, old house. We're so sorry. I hope one day you can forgive us. Goodbye. (But not really because you know I'll be driving by you again next week.)