My life seems recently to lend itself to sappy love songs from my youth. The latest such song to resurface is from 1977 and it’s called “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.” It’s by Meat Loaf. “I want you, I need you, but there ain’t no way I’m ever gonna love you,” sings a man to the woman who loves him. “Now don’t be sad,” he continues, “Two out of three ain’t bad.” No, it’s not, and if my new house, the one I’m going to buy, ever reproaches me, I’ll say the same thing: Don’t be sad. I want you and I need you. Can’t that be enough?
My new house is a nice one. It satisfies most of my requirements. But it is just not quite Casa Pucho, a house I saw early on but could not consider for its impractical location far from work and friends. I could however dream about it. Half stone and half wood and located in a small village with a donkey in one field, a cow in another, and the mist on the Sueve mountains across the valley, the house lent itself to romance, just as my life did to silly love songs. But living in a village would be so impractical at a time when I’m putting a priority on getting where I need to go without a car. My new house is four blocks from the grocery store and two from the pharmacy. It’s walking distance from the health center and the train station. The mechanic is around the corner. I can pick up the river walk half a mile from my door. I can be at any of six different bars within seven minutes. The sun-drenched town plaza is a 15-minute-walk away. My new house provides all that, but not serene inspiration. Companionable, yes, but not lovable. I want it and I need it, but love it? That’s asking too much.
Besides location, I got much else that I wanted. I got windows with wooden frames, not PVC, shutters, not blinds, and thick stone walls and exposed wooden rafters. A bit of patio. Neighbors. Sunny exposure. A fireplace. Other desires I got in half measure, like the stairs that are neither the dreaded spiral nor have a comfortable landing but instead change direction with a couple of triangular steps. I wanted a gallery of windows but got a sweet balcony instead. I have a garage though it’s two doors away. Overall, I am pleased, despite the unfortunate lack of decent heating. By and large, I got what I wanted, though a slightly inferior version. How do I know? My heart tells me. I got the house I almost love, or perhaps even could love, except for that enduring vision of the other, on the hillside, well warmed with radiators in all the rooms and a fireplace at the end of the long living room, waiting for me.
But as the days go by, I find myself questioning the singer’s conviction that he’ll never love the girl. Don’t be so sure, I think. Stick it out. Give love a chance. If discretion is the better part of valor, then perhaps patience is the better part of ardor. Shall we agree that it’s possible? Because although in the world of pop songs, desire and need aren’t enough, in my world, the real world, two out of three really ain’t bad. Is it, House?
My house is old and possibly wise. My house might complement one song with another. “I’m not perfect. But I’m perfect for you.” We’re going to find out, my house and I.
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