I'VE GOT THE KEY TO GRAMERCY PARK

A photo posted by Elizabeth Barone (@elizabethbarone) on

 

Not being able to “leave and cleave,” as the old saying goes, was really grating on my nerves. I desperately wanted to start a life with my husband, independent of our families. I felt frustrated and ashamed. I often wish that I could work a regular job like a “normal” person, but it was really tearing at me while looking for an apartment.

I decided that I needed to let go of wondering why my joints hurt so much. Questioning why was getting me nowhere; rather, it was just depressing me even more. So I released that inner pain. It wasn’t easy. I’m honestly not even sure how I did it. I just started focusing on other things. Then, something amazing happened.

My best friend texted me to let me know that a studio in Watertown was available—within our budget, with everything included. It seemed too good to be true, but I also had one of those feelings. I just knew that we were about to find our new home. Unfortunately, shortly after I set up an appointment for us to look at it, someone else took it.

I was devastated. I had been so sure that this was it.

We were in the middle of doing an art show when I got the news, though, so I pulled myself together. Something made me check my phone again, though. The gentleman renting out the studio told me that he might have something else; his parents were looking to rent a two-bedroom apartment for even less than the studio. After discussing it with Mike, I made an appointment to see it. I didn’t want to get my hopes up, though.

Despite my hesitation, I was still excited. That feeling kept washing over me, my gut telling me that this was it. When we walked inside the apartment, I knew right away that it was ours. It was small, with sloped ceilings. Quirky and charming, it just felt right for an artist and his writer wife. The refrigerator door just clears the counter, and our bed will just fit in the master bedroom, but it’s our tiny little home.

We had to discuss it, of course, but by the end of the day, we let our new landlady know that we wanted it. We made the deposit and got the keys yesterday.

The apartment is nestled on a vast property in the heart of Watertown, a small town that I’ve only dreamed of living in. But last summer, at this exact same time, my best friend and her family moved from Waterbury to this little town. The day that we move in will be her one-year anniversary.

I used to scoff at signs. Now they are abundant.

On the same day that we decided to take it, I found two new part-time jobs that will allow me to work from home, at my own pace. They are not physically demanding, and will allow me to still focus on writing while bringing in some extra money.

The last few years have been so hard, it seemed like I would never see the sun again. The other day, I tearfully confessed to my husband that I wished we had been able to have that honeymoon stage. Most newly married couples spend the first couple of years being grossly in love. We spent the first two years clinging to each other while trying to evade disaster after disaster.

We’ve been tested, that’s for sure.

via Unsplash

via Unsplash

Looking back, though, those hardships have shaped us and made us a better team. We still have a lot to learn—especially now that we’re moving out of my parents’—but we’re closer than ever before. I am more in love with him now than I was years ago, when we gleefully got engaged. We were unaware of the hardships ahead, but I wouldn’t go back to that time. We are who we are because of what we’ve endured.

On Facebook, I saw a meme that said, “What doesn’t kill you gives you a damn good reason to write.” How true this is. I’ve long since learned to channel my frustrations and agony into my stories. My depression taught me to write with fevered passion.

For the first time in the last few years, I can see the road ahead clearly. Sure, unanticipated hardships will jump out at us, but we will handle them together.