“Of course you have to take it, bubba,” Keaton said, when I got him on facetime later that evening. I’d of loved to discuss it with him face-to-face, but the bubble was still on for another few days. “You don’t have a choice.”
“Yeah…but…I like having my own place…and it’s awesome having you next door…and…”
“And nothing,” said Keaton. “Sure, it’s been great living next door to you, but, bubba, you just can’t afford your apartment on what you’re making. It’s been a struggle every month since they cut back on unemployment. You don’t have a choice. And, shit, man…you get to live in a palatial pool house with two jacuzzis. I hope I can come and visit you once you’re out of your fuckin bubble…unless I’m not good enough for San Marino.”
“Maya said I could have visitors.”
“And what about Joyce? You’re not exactly cut out for long-term celibacy, bubba.”
“Maya said I could go see her two nights a week. That seems fair. I don’t think they want me to be a full-time babysitter like I’ve kinda been being. Dr. Peterson is going to come back and take over the teaching part, so I’ll have time for other pupils. I think Maya wants me to build a baseball business…she even said that I can use the show to make that happen.”
“You gotta fuckin take it,” Keaton said. “It’s the best offer you’ve gotten since Mrs. LaSalle paid your rent back in September. You just can’t afford to live here any longer. It’s that simple, bubba.”
“Yeah, man…you’re right,” I said, with a sigh. I really did like living next door to Keaton, and I really did like having my own place…especially that place, which is the only apartment I’ve had since I moved to California. It’s the only place I’ve ever had to myself…and I’ve grown pretty attached to it.
“You gotta admit it’s like it was meant to be with your lease being up this month. Who’s paying your January rent, by the way?”
“I can afford that,” I said, “with everything I’m making while working in the bubble. That’s a shit ton of money and I haven’t had much to spend it on. It’s gonna be less money a week once things go back to normal, but it’ll still be pretty generous, and I won’t have any expenses beyond insurance, gas and my phone.”
“There you go, then. Count on me to help get your shit into storage. But I’ll let you tell Juan Diego. He’s gonna miss you too, I reckon. Any idea when you’re gonna move out?”
“Whoa, man…let me wrap my head around the whole thing first. I’ve got until the end of the month to get out of the apartment.”
“Maybe you can leave early and save some money. It’s worth asking. Just let me know so I can get a day or two off to help you. Do you know where this storage unit they’ve offered you is?”
“No,” I said, realizing how many details there were that I didn’t know about. Moving isn’t easy, and I reckon it’s going to be more complicated because some of my shit is gonna be going one place, and the rest is gonna be going someplace else. There was a lot to figure out.
I hung up with Keaton, feeling a little sad about having to move, but I then took a look around me and realized I was moving into a place that was way more comfortable than my Pasadena apartment. Maybe there were tradeoffs, but there were things in favor of moving to the pool house…not the least of which was the free rent factor. And, honestly, I’ve been enjoying my time in the bubble. I mean…I wish I could have gotten to see my girlfriend and Keaton more, but the boys really are awesome, and I’ve enjoyed spending time with them. I’ve even enjoyed being a teacher, although I’ll be glad when Dr. Peterson comes back.
It was kinda late back home, but I wanted to talk to someone in the family before I went to bed, just to be reassured that I was making the right decision. So I called Meemaw. I know, y’all probably are wondering why I’d be calling an old lady at midnight her time, but Meemaw stays up late. She says she likes it “when all the fools are asleep” and she “has the world to herself.” So I got her on the phone and told her about the whole plan about moving and not having to worry about rent the way I have been for the past four really pretty awful months.
“It’s a godsend, HB.”
That made me feel a whole lot better, and I had no trouble falling asleep in what was, not just my temporary home while I was in the bubble, but my new home as well.