The Other Mortgage Broker
As I have limped, often bloodied and bruised, through these months, I have sometimes consoled myself by thinking that the worst thing that has happened to me this—or even any—year has already socked me in the face.
There is a kind of freedom in that notion. Consider this: the one person in my life that I thought I could count on unreservedly has bolted and left me to clean up after him as best I could. In the graceless manner of his leaving he unwrote my present, my past, and my future. And yet here I stand; clutching the rags of my dignity and self-esteem but still upright.
Safe in a way, because, really, what else could possibly go wrong?
I have not always been gracious. I have not always been strong. I have not always been sober. I have crawled through days when the only thing on my to-do list was ‘keep breathing’ but I have taken some comfort in the notion that as soul scrapingly bad as things are, they could not get worse.
Hilarious, amiright? Things can always get worse.
The other mortgage broker is a cheerful chap with a big smile and a deep, warm voice. If I had to pick a voice with which to deliver news of this kind, it would be that one.
The news is this: I don’t make enough money to buy my husband out of our apartment.
The news is: I’m going to lose my home.
I’m not very good with money and I don’t much care about it. It’s not the way I was raised. My father didn’t—and doesn’t–care a flying weasel about money. My father cares about his good name and his golf handicap (not in that order) and his philosophy rubbed off on me.
As long as I have enough to meet my needs, I’m good. I don’t need a lot of fancy stuff; fancy stuff makes me nervous. Shackle that philosophy to the global economic downturn and you get a couple of years of tax returns that make mortgage brokers open conversations with “I’m really sorry to have to tell you this, but….”
And now I have to make a terrible decision. Because there is one thing I can do. The mortgage broker said there’s one thing that might be possible.
I have to ask my estranged husband, very nicely, if he will consent to refinancing our mortgage together, taking his money out of the only thing that we have in common any more, but leaving his name on the deed.
The other mortgage broker says this is often done in amicable divorces.
And since we’re too poor to go for litigation but are doing mediation, our divorce falls squarely into the amicable category. At least in theory.
I knew this was coming. I’m not stupid. I’ve been playing my husband for a few weeks now. Jokey emails. Stuff like that. I’m playing his decent side, because I know him. I know that it exists somewhere, despite everything. I know he must feel a tiny wee bit bad about leaving me the way that he did. No matter the things that he said to justify it.
I have to ask. And I’m not sure that I can.
Humiliating is the word that I’m searching for. And I didn’t have to search very hard. It just popped right up when I considered the situation for a solid two or three seconds.
I’m not sure I can form the necessary words. I’m not sure if I want to.
Perhaps a sharp, shocking break is a good thing. Perhaps I should cut my losses. Whack a big dollop of non-attachment-to-outcome plaster on the very evident cracks in the whole situation.
Sell the apartment. Head off to Tunisia or Mongolia or somewhere. Or get another apartment. There are other apartments.
I honestly do not know what to do. I’ve lain on my bed and thought deeply. Came up with nothing.
I’ve taken to tossing coins. Because everybody knows that when you toss a coin, you instinctively know how you want that coin to land. I’ve tossed several coins.
Came up with nothing.
I’ve asked people whose opinions I respect. They have favored me with their opinions.
I still don’t know what to do. I am stuck. I have to do something but I don’t know what that thing is.
I don’t know.