Christy Lynch | Longreads | October 2019 | 17 minutes (4,584 words)
On my 27th birthday, I had a fever dream about Disney World. It was my third day feeling sick, and I was floating on the edge of sleep, swimming through a blur of mouse ears and castle spires. I thought I heard the clap of fireworks, and my eyes blinked against a flash of sunlight. I woke up looking around for a shower of gold sparks but saw only the crooked towers of repurposed liquor store boxes spread across my new bedroom, slicing up the morning light.
Two months earlier, my previous apartment complex went the way of New Nashville — when an investor installs energy-efficient toilets, doubles the rent, and forces out all the tenants. In the four years I’d lived in Nashville, rent across the city had exploded. Now anything comparable to my two-bedroom, no-dishwasher takeout box of an apartment cost 60 percent of my monthly take-home pay. I got a real estate agent and started looking at properties for sale on the outskirts of town.
The day before my birthday, I closed on a small condo with an HVAC unit older than I was. My real estate agent brought champagne to the title company’s office, and I signed my name to a stack of contracts until my ring finger went numb. Afterward she handed me the key to my new house, and I drove to my next appointment: the gynecologist, to find out why it burned when I peed.