Today I turned 25. I am a quarter of a century in age, and it feels funny. I can barely comprehend how old I am as I am torn between the emotions of my inner child and the sensibility of my adult reality. This is something everyone of us deals with of course, I just don’t feel old enough to be 25.
Today has been the best Birthday of my life. I am in the middle of a storm both literal and figurative, and yet I am having one heck of a day! To start with, my friends and family both have turned to support me. I may have found a home. I was also given presents.
The best presents come when you least expect them. The present I treasure the most, well there are two. One is a hand carved stone deer. This was made by a Zuni craftsman for me. The honor I feel in being entrusted with a piece of his spirit, his art is immense. The second gift is gluten free pizza. Why do I treasure the delicious melty cheese that I will receive via UPS tomorrow?
I had to have it shipped across the country, I couldn’t go to the store and just pick up a pizza. It took effort, coordination, and honestly has cost a great deal. The cost bothers me but I will not look a gift Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza in the… box… and deny it. I have been starved and tormented with food, it is time to celebrate with food.
My fears of homelessness may be past me tomorrow. They are diminished, and I am getting the chance and courage to make a list of what I need when I move, like a blender so I can blend things (high protein drinks to help my system recover from starvation or a waterbed heater that isn’t a fire hazard). I looked at the most amazing apartment today. For one, most of the utilities are included, I just pay electric and for my internet. For two, my dream home is cream with green trim… so is the apartment! It has a yard with a huge tree, a rosebush, and the one bedroom apartment is more accessible than the one I am in with two bedrooms.
The bedroom is gigantic, the bathroom is as big if not bigger than my kitchen and the nook where I am sitting right now. There is a space intended for a litter box, and the most wonderful thing? There is no pet rent, pet deposit or limitation besides “Just don’t let them poop on the carpet.” I can keep William Shakespurr. With his special needs I was terrified of giving him up. It left me in tears at the thought.
I can also get a dog. I may (sometime in the distant future when I can afford dog-food AND Cat-food) get a small dog like a Pomeranian. I secretly want to dress it up as a pomegranate… then take pictures and make horrible food jokes. That poor dog that has yet to be born or taken home with me. I will torment it with love.
I cried over the idea of no pet rent. The apartment manager listed what he is already coordinating to make the apartment accessible as soon as I am approved. I could get the call right now, or sometime tomorrow. I could move in by Friday.
Now this is all well and good but, I was worried about the neighborhood. It is not the best, but it is not the worst. It’s close though. You can see where the neighborhood itself is fighting against appearing destitute, where businesses are putting out the effort to draw customers and to make the place better. You can still see the crusty edges of gang violence but the true warzone is several city blocks away.
The distance sounds small but it is further away than where I sit right now. There are no drug dealers outside those doors. Here, the drug dealers and junkies are neighbors. There are weekly drug busts, which I do not like to think about. There, I have a yard. Here I have a fence and a sliding glass door.
I have a yard that is large enough I could get furniture like a table, chairs, an umbrella and still have room. I can once it is cleaned let the cats go outside, on their leashes of course. I have a tree. Not a baby tree but a massive tree. I think it may be a sumac, but, it is my tree. It is tall enough to shade my front window. I also have a rose bush. White roses. My favorite color for most flowers.
It gets better, despite the obvious flaws this apartment is over a half an hour closer to K’s home, and although it has no pool, the owner of the apartment pays for a weekly food box for each resident made up of mostly meat. Meat. Not just vegetables and half rotten salad. Meat. I could benefit from this, despite my allergies.
Monthly everyone is given things I cannot eat, but the Apartment Manager Buddy, he said he’d see if they could get me special things. That way when I go to the social gatherings I can eat too. Me. Included before I am even approved to move in. Me. Wanted. Me treated as a human by an apartment complex that obviously is not mainstream.
The walls may contain lead paint, so I won’t be eating any paint chips. Really I have to watch for William with that, but, before I move in K is going to clean it, her sister and mom voluntold me that. I have no option but to make sure my home is clean. I was also given a gigantic TV today, so that I can watch anything I want, and two end tables. There is plenty of space in this apartment. I can see myself there for a very long time. Ages, decades, maybe my entire life.
I’ve never felt that before, that this could be the place. It is not where I want to be, but if it is where I have to be, it is still better than where I am. I found this place through an act of desperation and partial blindness. My inability to read paper caused me to dial the wrong number, and I called the home of the owner of the complex. John, as I will call him, asked me why I was crying.
I couldn’t seem to make words happen when he answered and tried again. “I hope I have the right number, but I am calling because I am about to be homeless and I need a place. I can’t go to a shelter, I am physically disabled and medically fragile.” I remember feeling like an idiot. I’d already called dozens of places and my eyes were burning. Instead of the usual “Sorry we can’t help you.” I was given a reply of, “Well, this isn’t my office, but I own an apartment complex.” He recited the address, I wrote it down. “Call Buddy, he is my manager. I’m calling him on my cellphone right now to tell him you are about to call.” I gave him more information about who I am so he would know, and so he could tell Buddy.
I then set up a ride. They’re willing to work with me on rent if I cannot make it happen right off. They won’t let me die on the street. I feel a warm sensation at that thought. All because I transposed several numbers. Almost all seven were the wrong number.
The way this is being done makes me suspect several things, the owner is immensely rich and this is his tax write off, used to actually help people. He told me every single resident has needed help. I believe him. Alternately he and Buddy both have experienced need. This has left them open to helping other people, despite the mainstream ignorance that ability does not denote worth.
Whatever the cause, that alone did not make this the best Birthday ever, I am still fearing the touch of denial. The only thing that can keep me from this apartment is a criminal past, which I do not have as an adult. They won’t hold my childhood against me. I know the apartment is mine but that fear still niggles at my mind.
Any single event today would’ve been great, but, there’s more. Not only did my mom try for my birthday but, I spent the day with K’s daughter who always brings a smile to my face. She had fun pushing my manual wheelchair in the store by my future home. This apartment is right near everything I need including a shoe store, except a bank. I only have a savings account at a bank with only two inconvenient locations. That’s alright, though. I can pay my phone bill, electric bill, and internet bill all with in feet of one another.
Oh, and the grocery store? It’s inexpensive, has the biggest gluten free selection I have seen (we bought cake mix so I can have actual birthday cake tomorrow). The cat-food is also cheap. I can go out for ice cream if I want. I am going to be free. Free for my Birthday!
So, Happy Birthday to anyone else with one that has past or is coming, or is today. I hope you share my joy. I will soon be posting links or at least discussing a donations page now. Some of you suggested it in both private email and public comments, and if it helps me and doesn’t hurt you I can see this as absolutely reasonable. I am going to go eat steak for dinner and enjoy a snug from my cats, while waiting for the phone to ring. Best Birthday of my life.