It’s been a bit of a break in blogging lately. I’ve posted very sporadically. It isn’t that I haven’t had things to write, I have. It isn’t that I haven’t had time to write, I have. It’s just that this blog is very personal and lately my inner life has been raw. Even for an open-book like myself, I needed quiet time to feel, cope, and adjust. Yes, sometimes even I need quiet time.
On Monday my associations with our former landlord finally came to an end as I signed for a certified letter which contained our security deposit and, as I had requested per the California Department of Consumer Affairs, an itemized receipt for any deductions.
For some reason I was quite taken aback to see the considerably smaller than I had expected cheque. While I agreed completely with the smaller charges on the itemized receipt, I disagreed adamantly with the bigger charge which, if it wasn’t there, would have brought the refund to exactly what I had expected it would be.
I immediately contacted Paul, and my two friends who have previously moved out of the same complex. I cried in frustration that no matter how hard I had tried to be a good tenant and a good person, this callous woman was still using her favourite weapon to break me down: economics. I knew that fighting the charges from the other side of the country would be difficult and expensive, but approaching her directly would be futile. Contacting her again would certainly put me over the edge and any monies I could have recouped from the whole ordeal would be immediately turned over to the mental health professional I’d need to visit.
Depositing the cheque meant accepting defeat. It meant she won. It meant agreeing to the incredibly insulting and untrue editorials on the itemized receipt. It meant allowing her to do this again to someone else. Depositing the cheque, which was the same amount my other friends had received despite our very differing lengths of time there and housekeeping abilities, meant being complicit in her illegal tactics of having a portion of the security deposit (in this case nearly half) non-refundable despite the law being clearly against any portion of the security deposit being non-refundable.
I wrestled with this all day. But as I prayed and worked it through in my mind, the idea to just take it and walk away became clearer. At first I considered it only because the alternative meant more time dealing with her and I was d-o-n-e. Over time, however, I thought about it more and more and finally came to conclusion that I would accept what was given me, and walk away. Finally I decided that the money I believed was still owed to me was a small price to pay for having no contact with them again. I will no longer allow that woman power over my emotional stability.
Paul conceded that was the best plan, but offered that we do one or both of the following: berate them in reply with a letter and/or write scathing reviews online.
In the end we decided to do nothing. I concluded that I had no need to be “right” and that in trying to have the last word I would not convince her to change her ways, nor would she suddenly apologize to us, nor would she return us the rest of the money, nor would she suddenly start to treat the current tenants better. All it would accomplish would be adding more misery and negativity in my life. I was able to see how this crossroads for me was strangely parallel to Janel’s when she was seeking child support, and how much her life improved when she finally dropped it (and searching for him) from her life. I don’t want to be bitter and angry, I want to leave the bad in the past and move on with the good.
The cheque I deposited this morning was three-digits instead of the four I expected, and it was barely more than half the original deposit. But it’s more than I had last week, and I no longer have to think about those landlords again. I choose to remember only the good memories we made in that place. I am free, and I am happy. I chose health over justice, and I chose well.