What purpose does a man serve when he thrashes his life in regret as time overwhelms his aching bones? I can ask this question to myself over and over again with the realization that nothing will ever change for the better unless I am willing to let go of the shackles that restrain my flight into the beckoning future. A new tomorrow cannot be visible if an aging past still haunts me.
I sat in the darkness waiting like a leopard for my moment to come. It had been almost two months since I had last heard from him and he was now behind in his rent by three months. Where was the law that man had made to protect me from this type of tenant? No one could see the pain and frustration he had caused in my life. Yet by the law it was stated that a landlord had to give his tenant one month’s notice before filing a case with the courts to evict the tenant. After which it was a toss of the coin. No one knew what the outcome would be, all the tenant had to do then was pay the outstanding rent and then the landlord was back to where he started filing in a new procedure to evict the tenant on different grounds.
The street was quiet as he approached the door. I watched him rummage in his pockets for the house keys, waiting patiently in anticipation for the surprise I had prepared for him to unfold. The keys did not fit and there was darkness and anger in his eyes as he realized what I had done. He walked away from the door determinedly like a man possessed by the demon and climbed back into his car. I saw him dislodge a cell phone from his pocket and dial my number.
‘What have you done?’ He asked agitatedly.
‘Only what I needed to do for a long time,’ I said.
‘Do you know that this is illegal and I can take you to court for this?’ he asked.
‘So is not paying your rent for three months,’ I responded unperturbed.
‘So how do you expect me to get my things?’ he continued. The effrontery of the man was such that, he believed after avoiding me for two months he assumed he could waltz back into my apartment and live in peace while I struggled through many weeks paying the mortgage.
‘I am in the vicinity and this time we need to talk.’ I said coldly. My timing had been perfect for once for I had very little to loose. I had waited two days in each week of the last two months for him with no success. My phone calls and letters had gone astray as he avoided me. However finally I had resigned myself to waiting all evening if that was what it took. I could not file a case on a tenant that did not respond to mail. I could not go to court and charge a man that did not exist. I had to deal with this swiftly and in my own way because that was what it had come down to.
We entered the house in silence and I led him to the front room. I watched him settle in the sofa and I looked directly into his eyes like a hawk willing him to deny my query. He avoided my eyes but had plenty to say.
‘Sorry about the rent, my mother passed away and I had to travel.’ He said. How many times had I heard that excuse? I wondered. He must have thought he was the first tenant I had ever come across in my life! I listened in silence as he chaffed excuse after excuse and I knew I was in for a long evening. However I kept my nerve because I wanted it to end that night as there where no more excuses left for him. It had taken me a while to find him and now that I had, I knew this was the last chance I would have of getting rid of him.
I watched him fidget for a while squirming in guilt and then he removed a few bankrolls and told me that he had a months rent available for me. He mentioned that he had got my messages but reiterated that prior engagements had prevented him from paying me sooner. I was unimpressed by the charade and watched him dig his grave even deeper. He mentioned to me how wonderful my apartment was and then had the audacity to let me know that he planned on having a party in the place. I listened calmly already decided upon what I was going to do.
‘You can keep the rent and consider it a present but what I would like is for you to leave the flat,’ I told him. I explained to him that we could go through the legal process but based on the fact that I was letting him off with two months rent then the least he could do was leave the place. I have to say this for him even though he had the fight in him to challenge my decision he relented as he told me that there was no point in prolonging our agreement. In the end we parted amicably even though I knew he still owed me the money.
Perhaps I had a bad stroke of luck with this tenant. However judging from my experience of past challenges I won’t say that I am not guilty of causing havoc in another person’s life at one time or another. I believe we all have the choice of dwelling in the shadows of life’s misdeeds or moving on in search for brighter days. On a roundtable of life we each have the time to make that decision up until the moment when the pointer makes it's way again directly to us. It is the law of reckoning that we would have chance after chance to fulfill our wishes and desires in one form or another as long as we have made a decision for what we want. So why do we stall at every doorway seeking assurances and securities that have no qualified guarantees. No storms are of equal measures as one hurricane blows off a rooftop while another decapitates a landscape. We can’t prepare for all and our earnest endeavors should not overshadow this reality.