Back in 2003, my partner and I embarked on a journey to build our dream home. We chose a floor plan and began our search for the perfect plot of land, which was a tremendous undertaking. But we finally found that two-acre piece of tree-dotted heaven in the spring of 2004. We broke ground in August of that year, and by August of 2005, the moving truck pulled into the driveway and the movers began cramming the house full of every personal possession we owned at the time. It was a very exciting time in our lives. We had only been together three years at that point and we felt as though we were beginning a brand new chapter in our lives. We honestly felt that this new dream home would be where we spent the rest of our lives. Heck, we even built the house to suit our dogs, complete with a 7′ x 7′ dog room in the walk-out basement that was heated and cooled, completely tiled with hot & cold running water so that our four, four-legged children wouldn’t have to take cold showers in the winter, and a large doggy door so that they could go in and out at their leisure.
Our House (known affectionately by our friends as “The Holodeck”)
A few years ago, my partner and I started becoming restless. There we were, a gay couple who – at the time – had been together about six years. We live in a small rural town in northeast Arkansas with a population of approximately 25,000 and we are completely in the closet. My partner is a physician and I am a Realtor, and being out in a small, rural, Bible-thumping, Church of Christ-ridden community such as ours would be devastating to our professions. As we began to travel more and more to various cities across the US, we starting meeting other guys from larger cities who didn’t have to hide who and what they were and we began to realize how oppressed we really were. At this point, we decided that we would put our house on the market and hope against all hope that a large house such as ours would sell because, at the time, houses such as ours had NEVER sold in this area and the likelihood of it selling anytime soon was slim to none. The thing is, this big noose-of-a-house hanging around our necks was really the only thing keeping us from moving on…until now.
Last week, on Wednesday September 7th, we received an acceptable offer that was contingent upon their house selling, with a proposed closing date of December 9th. Even though we had an offer in place, we had our doubts as to whether or not we would actually close due to the contingency looming over the contract. But then the unexpected happened: another client with whom I had been working made an offer that was equal to the first offer, but with no contingency and this client wanted to close on the house ASAP; so then we had TWO offers on our house. The first buyer was notified that there was a non-contingent offer on the table, so he removed the contingency, agreed to buy our house “as is, where is, with all faults”, and we close on October 24th. All of this has happened so quickly and we are so overwhelmed. On one hand, we are so happy and excited that our house is sold and that we’re finally able to start a whole new chapter in our lives; on the other hand, we feel sad because we’ve spent the last six years of our life in this house…it’s the first house we built together…it’s where our first dog, Jake, is buried…it’s where we’ve laughed, loved, fought, and cried together; and now someone else will be wandering the halls…someone else’s dogs will be inhabiting that little 7′ x 7′ room built SPECIFICALLY for our dogs. And on top of all this, we’ll be leaving Arkansas within the next year (maybe more, maybe less) and we won’t be able to drive by to see if these new owners are loving the house as much as we do.
Now we are forced to begin the process of moving, and as of right now we have no idea what or where we’re going to live…we basically have no place to go at this point. We are also faced with the dilemma of whether to lease a home or buy. The Realtor side of me says that we should purchase a home; but the other side of me says that we would be crazy to make such a large purchase considering we’ve spent the past couple of years trying to unload our current home. If we rent, most land lords don’t want to take on a tenant with four LARGE dogs and I can’t say that I blame them one bit; however, we refuse to get rid of our babies because they’re just that…OUR BABIES!!!
My other BIG dilemma is my parents. About four years ago, my dad started entertaining the idea of retiring. My partner and I decided to build them a house and move them from Texas to Arkansas. My parents are getting on up in age, and the idea of them being so far away and not being able to take care of them properly was really worrying us. My parents have been here for three years now, and the idea of leaving them here is literally breaking my heart and theirs. We have even offered to bring them with us wherever we go, but they don’t want to leave.
I know that in the long run our decision to move on and start this new, exciting chapter in our lives and our relationship will be the best thing for us. We will be leaving behind so much, including many of our friends in Little Rock and Memphis; but we will be gaining so much more. I feel that in the end, I will only have two true regrets: (1) leaving my parents behind, and (2) leaving behind our best friends, Robert and Erik. Robert and Erik have been through so much with us, and vice versa. Even though they live on the opposite side of the state (which is about a 5.5 hour drive), the idea that we won’t be able to drive over for an occasional visit makes my heart heavy. Robert and Erik, if you’re reading this, we want you to know that we love you with all of our hearts and we hope that one day the four of us will be together again. On that note, I will close.