Step 3: Enjoy Married Life… For a Little While
Two Years Earlier
“Jesus Christ. This place is insane.”
Douglas is reluctant to buy this penthouse apartment. He thinks we should live in that tiny three-bedroom apartment for the rest of our lives. Well, we do have the house we bought out on the island, but I don’t know how much time I’m going to be spending there. Douglas likes the house though. It has five bedrooms, and he kept talking in an annoying way about all the children we were going to fill them with.
“This penthouse isn’t any larger than what Orson Dennings has,” I point out.
Tammy, our realtor, bobs her head enthusiastically. “This is only a mid-level penthouse.”
Douglas blinks up at the skylights. “I don’t understand why we need a penthouse at all! We have an entire house!”
I didn’t realize how stingy my husband is until we went apartment hunting. Anything more than four bedrooms is “way too big.” And he keeps bringing up the house on the island, as if anyone is going to spend all their time on Long Island. Please.
“I was keeping the apartment in case I needed to hang around the city for meetings,” he reminds me. “But that isn’t where we’re going to be living. The house is where we’re going to be living.”
“Why do we only get to live in one place?” “Because we’re not insane?”
“A lot of people maintain a residence both in the suburbs and in the city,” Tammy pipes up.
“We already have a residence in the city!” Douglas argues.
He’s getting frustrated. Douglas grew up with a single mom in an apartment in Staten Island. He went to this special public high school downtown for super geeky kids and put himself through MIT by a combination of scholarships and work-study and loans. He’s not used to having money. He doesn’t know what to do with it.
He should take a lesson from me. My father never drove anything but used cars, and my mother clipped coupons. Every single item of clothing purchased for my older sister was not thrown away until the other three of us had a chance to wear it as well. Every piece of clothing was used until it was hanging together by a thread.
I hated living like that. I used to lie awake in bed and fantasize about what it would be like to be rich someday. And now that we are, why shouldn’t we get everything we’ve ever dreamed of?
After spending our childhoods being poor, we both have money. And we’re damn well going to act like it.
“Douglas.” I run a finger down his arm. “I know it seems a little extravagant, but this is my dream apartment. I’ve already fallen in love with it.”
“And,” Tammy says, “the price has been slashed.”
“Because nobody can afford this ridiculous place,” Douglas grumbles, although I can tell some of the fight has gone out of him.
“Please, honey.” I bat my eyes at him. “It will be so great to have a place to stay for the night when we bring the children into the city.”
That always works on him. Anytime I want to get my way, all I have to do is bring up our fictional potential children. Douglas wants four, but he’s not the one that has to squeeze them out.
“All right.” His eyes soften. “What the hell? I guess it could be, like, a tax write-off or something.”
“Sure!” Tammy, who is completely full of it, chirps.
“Thank you, sweetie.” I lean in to kiss my husband. As he encircles me in his arms, I can’t help but notice he’s gotten a little doughier than he was when we first met, which is the opposite direction of where he should be going. It’s something he’s going to have to work harder on, among other things. Douglas is still very much a work in progress.