The Timber of Eviction

Organized by: Joshua Wood

Joshua's Photo

THE STORY:

I still remember when my eldest boy Riley was shown our new place for the very first time. It was our place, a new concept for him after having to share housing with another family--and though we had very little his mother and I worked hard to move out on our own and at least have his room, and his little brother Ethan's room fully furnished. It is what they deserved. When Riley walked into the apartment his excitement was obvious--he let out a torrent of baby talk as his sandals slapped the floor and echoed through the empty rooms. When he got to his room (shared) he looked back at my fiance and I, as if to ask if it was okay--or if to confirm what he was seeing was reality, and we both nodded in confirmation, and that was all he needed. He charged into the room, decorated with cars and trucks, all his toys laid out, a toddler bed in one corner, his little brother Ethan's crib in another. He seemed to want to try everything (and did) and soon I began to feel the tears of joy, of accomplishment, of sorrow for what had been--and when I looked to my fiancee she was crying too.

It was a moment captured in our memory--it was the start of the rest of our lives. And we were happy.

But what we didn't know was that the apartment we had moved into and signed a lease for, had been misrepresented.

That the landlord had failed to mention the bed bugs, and the previous tenant, who had to leave everything behind when his numerous fumigations failed to work. He also didn't mention the structural issues, the leaking plumbing in the walls that had water dripping to the floor below, nor the cockroaches--nor the gas leak. A week into a tenancy we started getting bit up, and then we began to notice the bed bugs. I did not realize then what the true extent of these little bugs being present meant--not even when my fiancee began to shake her head and cry. She hated all bugs, this much is true, but bed bugs--she told me--are the worst. They can travel with you, they get in your clothes and your furniture and the wood and then it's over. You may as well get rid of everything--because you can't be sure.

And she was right.

We took the boys out of the situation immediately--had them stay with their grandma (my mother in law), but after a few visits, bed bugs started showing up over there. It was true. Having these bed bugs in our life and our things made me feel much like a leper. No one would have us.

We stayed in hotels for a month, and still paid rent at the apartment, believing the landlord when he said he would reimburse us. When our money ran out, and it was his turn to pay up--he refused. And so he was able to evict us for non-payment of rent. Instead of starting our lives, in just 4 months we found ourselves homeless, and with no where to go.

Despite our efforts, we cannot seem to end this bad luck streak--as our car has now died--engine failure, and without wheels the situation has become even more grim. Friends seem few and far between, when you have nothing to give them--and family can be the most disappointing of all.

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Joshua Wood

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