A Thanksgiving Love Story
Walking down a dark street I had known so well, the air had gone from fall crisp to winter brisk in the time it took to make my hour trip. I turned the key and entered the dank basement that once bore witness to my failed but genuine attempts to make it a home.
I was already beyond annoyed at this point, after finding out two days ago that my subletter had jettisoned back to Italy in a hurry and did not get rid of my loft bed as discussed. Which meant I had to rush to fix the situation, and before Thanksgiving no less. In a hurry, I posted an ad on Craigslist to sell my full-sized $1700 loft bed desk with mattress for a random number of $40.
I received email after email, and many from just one determined woman. She wrote me saying she’d really love the bed for her 13-year-old son who is currently just sleeping on a mattress in his room. I picked her out of the lot and made plans to meet her in Brooklyn.
Putting down my bag, my heart sank as I saw the mess I had to clean. The woman was now coming an hour later than planned and the temperature was dropping quickly in the apartment as the night wore on. But I was determined to get that bed sold and out of my life so that I could enjoy the Macy’s balloon inflation tomorrow in peace. I was hardly breathing out of my frustration slowly turning to anger.
As I started to unscrew the bed, I remembered the day I put it together completely by myself. I never did feel a sense of accomplishment about it, and I still don’t. I just wonder what possessed me to do it alone. Why didn’t I accept the help that was offered? I decided to let the thought go, order some food and get back to work.
When the woman arrived, she also brought her son and her husband, who is blind. The three were so grateful for the bed, they insisted that I not do so much work to take it apart. So I listened to the story about her husband losing his sight recently and how they were placed in special housing just last month. With 4 kids, the family was very happy to be living in a four bedroom. But as a mother, she felt guilty that her son was sleeping on just a mattress.
The woman went on to tell me how hard its been since her husband went blind. He lost his job, they had to move and have one kid off to college. And yet, she was quick to point out how he’s so determined to learn how to function in his new world, she’ll come home some days and he’s not there.
“It scares me so much, but that’s who he is and what I love about him. He’s so ambitious.”
I nodded wide-eyed as we watched her husband unscrew each screw. The three were so incredibly patient and supportive with each other as they disassembled the bed.
“So it’s $40 right? For the whole bed and the mattress? I need to hug you!” And just like that, a giant hug from a stranger enveloped me. I softened and took my first real breath of the day.
After everything was shuffled out the door, and I had oddly lost my screwdriver in a house full of nothing, I handed her my leftover curtain and said Happy Thanksgiving while heading back to the subway. I was done with my end of the work of moving, 2 months in the making. Time to go home.
But I’m not the same as earlier today. This family helped me more than I helped them. This Thursday on my one person Thanksgiving, not only will I be thankful to be finished with a basement I tried so hard to call home, and that I got to help a boy sleep in a decent bed, I’ll also be so grateful that I was hugged, even if it was from a stranger. That I got to witness a family who each had eternal patience and love for each other no matter what. That I now have a cozy warm home that I like to come home to…But most importantly, I’ll be giving thanks that even through my teary eyes of a seemingly endless stream in a lifetime of days constantly alone, I’m reminded I can at least be brave enough step out from under the covers one more day and believe I will find my people…my love…my place. And well, go buy a new screwdriver.
Addendum to “A Thanksgiving Love Story” (read my previous post to know more). Just received this email from the woman:
“You are an awesome person for providing us with such a wonderful blessing.
May God bless you abundantly. I hope that your holiday is very special and full of great memories.
My son is so happy with his bed.
Ever so thankful”
Okay, my eyes seem to be leaking, I must take care of that now.
Second addendum to the Thanksgiving Love Story: I found the screwdriver…