The man from upstairs called this afternoon. He's no longer interested in doing the switch.
"I'm too old to be moving. It's too much at this point in my life."
I feel bad. I think it's because I was forcing that timetable on him. But I really don't think he can expect me to live here all winter and then up and go because it's convenient for him. It's not fair to ask me to live here and not get settled; to live in a half-furnished space because I don't want to go moving furniture in and have to move it later; to live in limbo where I don't feel I can make my space... me. I didn't buy this condo to be a transitional home, I bought it to live in. If I'm not staying I should be able to go; if I am, I should be able to settle it as my own.
And then learn to share it.
I guess I feel bad because I know this man has limited options. Staying upstairs probably means that he'll have to give up his independence sooner. I could see how frail he was was he was looking around yesterday. He had to stop and lean against a wall or sit in a chair to take a rest. If he lived here, it would already be modified for him and he could probably live alone longer. I don't want to feel that I'm making his life more difficult by not giving him more time. After all, I'm young and have longer to sort things out. I'm afraid I'm somehow being selfish.
Truth be told, I don't know what he would have said if I hadn't mentioned a timeline. His decision could have nothing to do with the perceived pressure I exerted. Or his son could have talked him out of it after all.
I'm looking around my bedroom, and it's pretty bare. Dad hung my degrees on the wall, I have my Hello Kitty calendar next to my bed, and a framed print of a Théâtre de l'Opéra poster that Lew gave me for my birthday in high school or early university. My full-length mirror is leaning against the wall. My dresser is arbitrarily placed where Dad and Andrew put it down when I moved in. I have plastic storage shelves on one side of the bed, partially because there's nowhere else to put them. It's not an elegant room by any means, but I get to choose what it will look like. At some point, I will get to choose paint for it, and maybe I will ask for a wardrobe for Christmas, so I have lots of extra space to hang my clothes.
I'm sort of excited about this now.
And maybe in a year or two, the man upstairs will need to think seriously about changing his situation again. And if he's still reluctant to leave the building and the neighbourhood he loves, maybe we'll talk about it again.
I feel bad that we couldn't make it work, but I think I'm happy to just have a decision.