The One That Got Away


You have one, you’ve been one. There is someone out there who slipped through your fingertips or you slipped through theirs. The timing wasn’t right. The train pulled away. The boat drifted from the dock just before you could reach out and pull it back. You messed up. They messed up. It just happened. And every once in a while, when you’re day dreaming of the path not taken, the one that got away pops into your mind and a sparkling, happy scene shines bright over the sometimes messy and monotonous reality called life.

Of course the ones who get away are idealized. They’re practically perfect. The end all. The be all. They take your breath away and visions of how it could have been and would have been tease you into thinking in that dreaded state of…if only. Their grass is greener. Their problems much easier to deal with. But remember friends, all that glitters is not gold. Obviously I’m talking houses here.

I lived the “one that got away” saga from the time I can remember. Mom often talked about a house near Turtle Creek and Lakeside Drive. For those of you who don’t know Dallas, Lakeside Drive is phenomenal real estate. It’s lovely. It’s coveted. It’s a sea of ooooo’s and aaahhh’s. There’s a constant head turning going on just as intense as a final match at Wimbledon. You can’t take your eye off the ball, I mean, the houses. This utopia of real estate perfection could have been home…if only.

It was the early 1970’s and my house hunting parents were presented with a common real estate dilemma. Buy the home you can afford or stretch to uncomfortable. Uncomfortable was on a street called Highland. They had to decide if they were going to throw it all on the table or make a pass line bet. They went with pass line…a house on Livingston. Don’t get me wrong, Livingston was lovely, but there was a 30K difference between the two properties and 30K at that time was huge. Looking back, mom kicks herself. Livingston was nearby on a beautiful street with great neighbors and tons of fun. It’s just that the neighborhood and house on Highland ended up exploding. It is phenom real estate. The untouchable kind. Like…multi, multi, multi Misters everywhere you look.

Mom was and sometimes is still convinced that if they had bit the bullet, thrown it all in and gone with the Highland property, their lives would’ve changed forever. They would have been happier there. How could they not? Just waking up in that dreamy home would put a smile on anyone’s face. Not a problem or worry in the world living in that kind of appreciating beauty. Right. Of course rising real estate and gorgeous properties multiplying around you will make anyone puff up and feel good about their smart investment; but problems and stresses know no price range. They’ll find their way into the most modest, simple home on the outskirts of town, just as easy as creeping up a perfectly manicured walkway through a gorgeous, beveled glass front door on one of the prettiest streets. Needless to say, Highland was held on a high pedestal…the unattainable and one that got away always is.

Before I could even understand the concept of buying and selling a home, I bought into the Highland story. My pleasing, 6-year-old self would dutifully frown and sigh on cue as we drove by. Hands and face pressed against the car window I thought, “we were supposed to live there”. I knew the whole story and hung on mom’s every word as she described their decision and the events that led to buying our house. Looking back, living on Highland would’ve probably just made for a messier divorce…mo money, mo problems.

Last week I had a crushing about face with a Mister I have been visiting, designing, running numbers on and negotiating off and on since February of this year. Our timing was wrong and when we finally had it right, the sellers were still unrealistic. We tried. We couldn’t come together. And now, my Frank Sinatra would be dreamboat has been passed to a second listing agent and of course…he’s under contract. I drove by yesterday and saw “sale pending” hanging off the sign. Cue Bonnie Tyler immediately…I had a total eclipse of the heart.

The second listing agent. Ugh. They benefit like a second wife. The Misters are more realistic (no longer immature), they’ve made necessary repairs (possibly rehab or lots of good therapy) and they are polished and ready to sell (established and on the right track). I hope these buyers are true lovers and work with Mr. 1962’s fantastic bone structure. If they shatter and level him, I’ll be heartbroken forever. Ballad blaring broken hearted.

I spent hours and hours and days upon days walking him, driving by him, thinking about him and simply stopping to gawk at him. I had the majority of his finishes decided. He would be so good. A sea of terrazzo, wood detailing and a blush/gray/black/white palette on point. I just knew we were meant to be. I was patient and kept my smarts. I moved on to another willing Mr. when I had the chance. My head was in the game and I didn’t look back…kind of. What’s the harm in a drive by or three? I just knew that somehow Mr. 1962 and I would circle back, come together and have an epic romance.

So here I am starting to wrap up my love affair with Mr. 1960. He’s been a perfect gentleman from the start. He’s as patient as patient can be. Even with a delay in architectural drawings, a wait on necessary permits and a lull in construction, this guy has been a rock. We’re laying down floors this week and his finishes should start to come together quickly. Mr. 1960 is shaping up to be quite a man.

There’s still a sting left to tell. Are you ready for it? This is it. I promise. I’ll never speak of him again…maybe. There was always one thing that bothered me about my would be Frank Sinatra fabulous, Mr. 1962. There is a property that sits above him. This looming Mr. is quite famous and established. He’s been up for grabs for years. Today, in a case of great timing or tragic irony (you decide), I just happened to find out that this big time Mr. is in the hands of a fantastic architect. By the looks of the current plans, his lurking aspect that I was always so worried about will be taken down. He’s going to be scaled back, maintain his iconic architectural integrity and probably be a jaw dropping babe. Sting, another sting and stab me straight through the heart. That damn one that got away might end up haunting me forever. Oh well. Deep breath, stand up tall and find the next lover…he’s out there somewhere.



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