A week ago, my French, 30-something pal Jerome joined a tribe of our L.A. friends for a last supper at our West Hollywood house that was recently put up for sale.
After dinner, Jerome slipped into the study. The room where we ended many a night to sip a nightcap, chew on an edible, laugh, dance and gossip about whomever was not there.
The house is only 1,100 square feet but spacious enough for a hundred party goers, a band, a DJ and a variety of exotic dancers. Jerome was often the last to leave our parties, as the sun broke in LaLa land.
When I went to find him the other night, Jerome was sitting teary eyed on the couch alone.
“This house has many les souvenirs (memories),” he said. “If this is how Americans live, this is where I decided I want to be.”
The next day, we took the house off the market, even though we were a DocuSign signature away from accepting an over-asking price offer.
I called my Realtor, Steve Sanders, and said, “I have good news and very good news. I have a check for you, for looking after our property the last few years, and second we don’t need to go through the painful steps of selling the house.”
He was grateful.
In the end, I couldn’t let go of the memories. Thanks to my wife Yaz, our homes are like museums with writing dens, salons, eccentric art, exotic objects, vintage books and hideaways. Our neighbor in New York’s Greenwich Village once said, “you live in a home, we live in an apartment.”
COVID forced all of us to form a new relationship with our houses. We rediscovered the art, the objects, the pots and pans and the books. We created new but different sorts of memories. I enjoyed skinny dipping again, picking a thousand olives and hosting spontaneous outdoor dinners.
The alternative to not selling was putting more zeros in our bank account. Faced with mortality thanks to COVID, it was an easy choice.
Before I made the decision to call Steve, I sat alone in the salon where I found Jerome before. I cried too.
They were the tears of fond memories that only a home can store and keep safe.
Maybe it is an existential data point to help explain the shortage of homes for sale.
Whatever, my next call was to my friend Jerome. A big party is in the works.