We had been in the place for three weeks and still nobody had moved in upstairs. There were the occasional visitors - their presence given away by the sound of shoes on the floor above us - as though the agent was showing someone around, but no permanent inhabitants. The level of noise the first time was a shock and the footsteps going up the stairs drowned out the radio playing next to me. I felt like crying; Albie fled to the sofa to hide underneath it but had had a growth spurt seemingly over night and no longer fitted, so got stuck headfirst. His indignant meowing took the edge off the upstairs noise.
I have always been a quiet, not wanting to bother anyone type of person; too shy to really get across what I desire at times and would rather forego my desires than to raise my voice. However I am beginning to realize that sometimes, it is worth asking the question. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
We emailed the landlord and letting agent asking them what was happening with the top floor, and raised the question: “Has the deal fallen through, and if it has, can we move upstairs?”
It turned out that the guy who had beaten us to it by a matter of minutes and put down a deposit had not been seen or heard of since…
The landlord seemed open to the idea of us moving; his understanding can only have been helped by the fact that he had made a mistake on our contract. The property rentals in Montreal generally run from July 1st, however our contract ran from October to October, therefore when it came to an end he would struggle to let it again until the following July. Unless he was very lucky and two perfect tenants who had just come to Canada from Europe in September/October were looking for a place to live…
We viewed the apartment again, and our hearts leapt. The kitchen was bigger – size does matter – and the whole place was much lighter (seeing as though I spend so much time indoors, this factor was really important to me). To top it all off it had a better layout and a larger master bedroom with a proper solid wooden door (as opposed to glass sliding doors which not only made the bedroom feel as though it was part of the main kitchen-living room but also meant our bedroom was never dark). Having lived in places with shutters on the windows for the past four years, blocking out every sliver of light whatever time of day it was, we were finding it difficult to sleep in a room that wasn’t pitch dark.
It was so much nicer than we had remembered, and we wished we hadn’t seen it again. We tried our best not to get our hopes up, as it seemed too good to be true that we could move up there after all this time. The likelihood of the guy backing out now and consequently losing his deposit was very slim.
On the Friday evening, we were cooking supper when the doorbell rang. It was a letting agent with a prospective tenant. They explained they had bought some speakers with them and wanted to do a sound test with them upstairs to see if we could hear them, as he used them for work (we assumed from this he was a DJ). They trudged upstairs, each step reverberating through the house, and then a couple of minutes later, the music started. It resonated throughout the whole apartment, from the bedroom one end to the bathroom the other end. I buried my head in the tuna pasta bake I was preparing (figuratively I hasten to add, although doing it literally was pretty appealing at that exact moment in time). The two guys came back downstairs and when we explained how bad it was, went away mumbling about the thin walls of apartments in Outremont. The visit unsettled us somewhat - was this the guy that had the deposit on the apartment? If so, would we be kept awake by music at all hours of the day and night? But if it wasn’t the guy that had already bagged the place, why were people still being shown around it?! It was a long weekend with these questions flying around our heads unable to be answered.
When Monday morning came around, there ‘sounded’ to be another viewing of the top floor apartment. Us moving upstairs was not going to happen…
However, on the Wednesday lunchtime, the landlord phoned. He asked if we were still interested - the deposit guy had backed out saying the place was too small - if we wanted it, the apartment was ours!!!
We couldn’t quite believe it, convinced that something would happen to put a stop to it; and dared not let ourselves get too excited until the contract had been swapped. But on Thursday afternoon we signed on the dotted line, and the top floor apartment was ours, all ours!
Sleeping in a dark bedroom for the first time in weeks, we slept well.