Single In The Suburbs, Installment 140

Her dreams of renovating the basement into an apartment on her own came to a screeching halt when Sara’s loan application was denied. Can she find a co-signer? More importantly, who will she ask?

By Sara Susannah Katz

To read the entire series of articles from the beginning, click here.

n our last installment, Sara’s dreams of renovating her basement stalled when the credit union declined her home improvement loan. Despite her best efforts, our damsel actually needs help in the form of a co-signer to finish the project; who will she turn to? Read on…

Monday, 11 a.m.
I’m sitting on a ratty couch at Amos, my favorite coffee shop. This place is a subterranean wonder with its kitschy velvet Elvis paintings and twinkly Christmas lights. In one corner sits an old console TV that’s been converted into an aquarium where
The indignant ex-wife in me hates that question.
goldfish swim placidly around a King Kong figurine. Against the wall is a bejeweled Buddha shrine where patrons have left tiny notes, wishes and messages. The baristas are heavily tattooed, abundantly pierced and capable of swirling pretty designs into the foam on your latte. It’s the kind of place that makes you glad to be unemployed, because you get to hang out with the other locals.

But I’m not here today to hang out. I’m meeting Craig. I’m going to ask him if he’ll co-sign on the loan for me.

I’ve put a lot of thought into this and decided that this does not qualify as a stereotypical “rescue the damsel in distress” scenario. I am not asking Craig to lend me money. I’m not asking him to help me pay off a loan. I am asking him to lend me only the benefit of his gainful employment. This will cost him nothing. I have complete confidence that I will be able to pay off this loan. I’ve constructed a budget; I’ve done the projections and worked the timetables. I can do this. I just need to secure this loan first to make it happen.

I glance at my watch. It’s 11:11 now. Reflexively, I close my eyes and make a wish: Let something good happen. Please.

I open my eyes and Craig is standing there. “You sleeping?” Craig asks, half-jokingly.

“Ha. No. I was making a wish.”

He twirls his hands and bows. “You got it. I’m here.”

“Very cute.”

Craig gets himself a cup of coffee and plops down on the couch next to me. He puts a hand on my knee. “Hey. How are you? You hanging in there OK?”

“I’m fine. Really.” And then I go for it and ask him the dreaded question: “Will you co-sign a loan for me?”

He wants to know why I need it. The indignant ex-wife in me hates that question. I just want him to say ‘yes’ and come with me to the credit union this minute to co-sign the loan. And then I want to find a contractor today to have the job done by the end of next week and start renting the next day. Delusional much? (Disclaimer: As a close observer of pop culture trends, particularly as they manifest in slang pertaining to the English language, I realize that the “much” thing is over. At least it is in the Midwest. Which means it probably stopped being cool on the coasts two years ago.)

I open my laptop and show him my Excel worksheets — the projections and timetables and budgets. Craig seems surprised.

“I’m impressed. You’ve really put a lot of thought into this.”

“I have.”

Craig leans a little closer and takes a deep breath. Something has changed in his expression; he is
We could have an amazing life together.
almost somber now. “Sara. I think I have a better idea.”

“Better than turning my basement into an income generator?”

“Yes. Much better than turning your basement into an income generator.”

“Are you going to hire me?”

“No. I want to marry you.”

I stare at my ex-husband. “Are you kidding?”

“Do I look like I’m kidding?” Craig takes my hands in his and looks into my eyes. “Sara. Think about it. We’ve been divorced for over four years and, in a way, we are still together. Do you know how unusual that is for divorced couples? Have you ever really thought about why it is we’re still so friendly towards each other? It’s because we love each other, Sara. These last four years were a gift. They gave us the time and space to grow up. To strengthen our separate identities. It’s not the sort of thing a therapist would ever recommend — ‘yeah, you guys should separate for four years, then get back together’ — but it’s probably exactly what we needed. We were kids when we got married. We never got to experience anything outside of our little claustrophobic world. We could have an amazing life together. The kids are out of the house. We’ll have none of the stress of parenting. You’d never have to worry about money. We could take those vacations we always dreamed about. We could go to our kids’ weddings as a couple, Sara. I want that. Don’t you want that, too?”

Attention, faithful fans of Single in the Suburbs! Our writer, Sara, will be winding down her column with the final installment scheduled to appear next week. We’d love to hear how the ongoing saga of Sara’s love life has affected you personally. Have you tried online dating yourself? Have you struggled to re-enter the dating world after the end of a long-term relationship? Did Sara’s story encourage you to get out there and date again? Send your thoughts to Your comments and stories may be included in a follow-up article discussing the series’ overall impact and what Sara sees for herself in the future.

Sara Susannah Katz is a writer in the Midwest.

Read Single In The Suburbs, Part 141

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Would you buy someone a holiday gift that you've been dating for less than 6 months?

Yes, if I want the relationship to continue

Maybe, but only to avoid seeming rude

No, that's too early to exchange gifts

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