When we take stock of the people who matter most to us, there are the spouses, the family members, the best friends, the partners. And then there are the people who aren’t any of those things, but who change our lives anyway. Emily Raboteau's essay is about one of those people. It's read by Lake Bell ("Bless this Mess.")
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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from the New York Times, and w B you are Boston. This is modern stories of love, loss and redemption. I'm your host Magna Chakrabarti. When we take stock. The people who matter most to us there. Espouses the family members, the best friends the partners, and then there are the people who aren't any of those things but who change our lives anyway? Emily Rob those essay is about one of those people, it's red by Lake Bell who has starred in it's complicated in a world and wet hot american summer, you can see her now in bless. This mess on ABC.
No one goes into a move expecting to fall for her mover. I was no exception. This was back in October, two thousand and one when people advertise their services by taping flyers the lampposts among signs for the nine eleven missing. That's where I found Derek's number, which I called in secret, while my boy, Was getting sloshed at whatever Brooklyn dive sold the cheapest drinks? We were Evicted from our apartment, a third floor, walk up over a czech cashing store. My boyfriend normally and sad drunk had trash the place our landlord was wise to sever ties with him. I was too insecure to do the same. He was my high school sweetheart and best friend, but living together was.
Me out. I decided to move in with a girlfriend. I told Derek all this during our first, call to his enduring credit. The mover didn't in Strange, a lot of couples were splitting up in the aftermath of nine eleven. He said fleeing the city for the suburbs or, like me just running to their borough. Even though, Breakups and divorces were good for his business. Derek seemed genuinely sorry for our pain. I liked his voice as a gentle as a funeral directors, rather than itemize the things we friend had broken. I told Derek about how rotten my last moving experience had been. The movers had refused to unpack the cargo van until I paid them double their initial,
Out how do I know you won't, do me dirty like they did? I asked it was in indirect way of describing my problem with my boyfriend. Derek said exactly what I needed to hear. I didn't deserve. Be treated badly. Guys like that, he said, gave good guys a bad name, Derek promised. He would treat me and my stuff with respect. I was working my way through graduate school. His fee was a sliding scale to three hundred dollar sound, fair, My belongings, when I was twenty five consisted of eight or ten boxes of books, a glad bag full of clothes and aloe plant and a spindly end table rescued from the curb that, on humid days, smelled of dog pee, Derek. showed up on moving day, at dawn with a ten foot truck
assistant name Robin this made me think of him as Batman is uniform, was a hanes undershirt with PLAID flannel overlay, a black weightlifters belt work boots jeans and a driving cap tucked into the belt like a grappling hook, was a heavy duty pack tape dispenser? He was probably only five years older than me, but seemed since Daniel more adult I fantasized about hugging him he'd, come to read, give me from a lousy situation and transport me to a better one. I didn't like seeing myself. as a damsel and distress, but there. I stood tearful and spent fully dependent on Derek's muscle. My boyfriend had scuttled off without helping to pack a thing
A coffee spotter marked the wall where he smashed a mug. When I asked for space you did the hard part Derek said lifting a box now leave the rest to me. I guessed it was, His trademark line, but it did the trick it made me- feel secure as he carried me off to my new place in the West village. Derek told me that what he enjoyed most about his job. Apart from meeting different kinds of people, was the puzzle of fitting thing in the truck, so they wouldn't break. He assured me that I wasn't as fragile as I felt that day. He said I was moving on up like the jeffersons theme. Song true, I could now boast a Manhattan address, but
my new place was no deluxe apartment in the sky. The tomb sized illegal sublet on a street over a shoe store for drag queens. Although my roommate chastity could have punk, my boyfriend under the table. I knew she'd never destroy the place. All the quality furniture belonged to her. This place is great Derek said, admiring the high ceilings The kitchen was a nook with two burners to separate posits, how's, the toilet and shower my bedroom window was cloudier than a cataract to free up. Some space. I set my bookshelf on my dresser and my tv atop, the flimsy IKEA wardrobe. chastity and I sat on the floor, creating our
to watch romantic comedies with plates of greasy. Take out balanced on our laps, sometimes my boyfriend shut up. Sometimes I let him in. Two months later, a neighbor tipped off the landlord that neither chastity nor I were on the lease I called death. For a second time, we needed to move back to Brooklyn Pronto. As he loved Dar things down the stairs. I admired the solidity of his boots. His me he hands in his job. More than that, I approve it'd, his sunny indisposition grew job. Ladies, he said surveying new railroad apartment, you're going to be really happy here, couldn't see the unpainted plywood doors, the mold. blackening the bathroom grout
we lived one block from the soda bar, where Chasity increasingly spend her time. one night. I woke to discover a man standing naked over my bed having lost his way back to her room from the toilet, his pupils dilated by cocaine, and that's how I stop living which ass today, I called Derek a third time, and he delivered me deeper into Brooklyn to an apartment in Flatbush cluttered with empty wild turkey bottles and battered musical equipment. I was moving back in with my boyfriend if this arrangement struck Derek as a step down was too polite to say, so I panicked when he left. I panicked again, a few months later, when, on our tenth, anniversary, my boyfriend proposed with an imitation Fire ring he'd bought it at
jewelry store with a neon sign that flashed we buy. old gold. The ring was too small for my finger. I said ok because I was afraid to say no. Within a year, I sold my first book gotten a job bought some decent furniture. I'd also, finally gathered the courage to tell my boyfriend. I couldn't marry him, of course, all of these chains, Is correlated to one another, the relief. Ship deteriorated when I told my boyfriend he'd make a lousy dad. Eventually he moved out leaving nothing behind, but I have to flitted basketball. For the fourth time I called Derek. I was proud to show him I'd bounced back.
rent on my new one bedroom apartment in Harlem was a thousand dollars a month that I could afford to pay. It myself made me feel grown up. The move took all day and was complicated by a shoot of law and order, and my block dared to crumble, having to park his truck on another street. He fully lugged my possessions up five flights congratulated on the condition of the hardwood floors and overlooked the mouse holes in the baseboards he stacked. My last box at dusk tell off his face and smiled you made it. He said I hadn't always believed I'd land in a solid place, but Derek had now. I had a profession, a residence and some confidence. Only one thing was
maybe because of the film sat outside. I suddenly I saw my plot resolving like one of those romantic comedies chastity and I used to binge on, could Derek be the one. The years he'd become my model of a good man. I even like the smell of his sweat. I bought us fried fish sandwiches at a nearby seafood joint, as we ate sitting on book boxes, considered, asking him out on a date. I didn't. I felt too shy. also I'd been with my boyfriend, since I was sixteen and he
mess around a little before dating seriously and Derek wasn't right for that. I felt too much affection for him. I kissed him on the cheek, trusting we'd see each other again. apart from my ex old basketball. He wouldn't accept a tip. whatever I paid. Him was less than he deserved and less than he gave me. You're living comfortably alone. For a spell, I started seeing a man who shared Derek's decency optimism and build three years later. He moved in with me. Once we agreed to pool our belongings or hang ups and our dreams, we got engaged and bought an apartment. I assumed Derek would move us into it, like
any new homeowner. I wanted to show off my nest and I wanted derricks approval of both apartment and fiance. Mostly. I wanted to thank him for insisting I be happy, but my mover was nowhere to be found. We hired other movers who were brusque but efficient. Once they'd gone the man I married hoisted me roughly over the threshold, it was as if he could never imagine. I was someone who could break the That's the leak bell. Reading Emily Roberto's essay, the wisdom of the moving man You can see her now in bless. This mess on ABC from Emily. After this
the. The I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other, playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in salary. It may have happened again. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I always get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something
me and my dad. We like this time you together and I wish cuz it out it. J, a c k, p o t, jackpot yeah nice, I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try, spelling bee and all our games at annoying times dot com, flash games. Roberto says that in this piece she wasn't listed in telling a traditional love story. It's, an exercise in misdirection cause, you think, Derek The love object I'll wind up with him, but I didn't really. The reason I loved this guy was that he was a gifted caretaker and that's really rare in his business, but it wasn't the Love that was gonna resolve in a typical way or kind of story was a kind of love where he
It was really good at performing a job in a way tat made me feel safe and held at times swear. I felt in secure and like I didn't know where I was gonna wind up but Emily hasn't heard from Derek in years did here someone who said Derek had moved back to his. Yeah, where he's originally from, and that he operates a food truck now and has a family he was a a really major character during several chapters of my life, but he probably doesn't remember me at all when we talk to her Emily told us more about the last line of her essay where she describes her husband, hoisting her roughly across the threshold of their new home as if
I never imagined that she was someone who could break. We asked her what was behind that line? She says it came from her history with her ex boyfriend after nine eleven like his alcoholism, spiked, he trashed our apartment. That's probably a lot like just one toss away line in that essay, but what that looked like I mean just what that looked like was that he broke everything he broke all of my possessions like he broke the chairs, he crash. You know he threw things against the wall, and now I'm getting emotional get cause actually was behind that last
I you know yeah, I felt like he was trying to break me too, and that relationship influenced how Emily saw herself. I thought about myself as being extremely vulnerable, especially in relation to other men, by which I mean I I been in an abusive relationship, and so I had a sense of myself as being perhaps vulnerable or fragile, because it was so difficult to extricate myself from that relationship and Derek was a person, as this may be really why I loved him, because every time he came into my life to move me like out of the apartment that I shared with that
boyfriend or back into like the next apartment that I shared with that boyfriend or out of it again, he always was telling me you're going to be okay, and not only are you going to be okay but you're? Okay, already, he was an optimist, in other words, and his optimism was infectious and my husband, the man I married it he's also like that, and you didn't have a story about me as somebody had been abused or stuck in a relationship of an alcoholic, but rather as somebody who is ok and who was gonna, be ok and who is on an awesome path that he wanted to share for someone like Derek they see so much like. You know that
emotional thing. I just revealed, like that's their job, to see messy life like that over and over and over again or they say, moving is up there as a stressful moment and people's lives along with death and public speaking, but a lot of the time. People are moving because something good has happened, but a lot of the time moving, because something terrible has happened now. Emily and her family are in the process of moving again this time for good reason, they're moving out of the apart, where she gave birth to their two children. I just hired a painter and he'll, be painting over the pencil marks and the kitchen door frames where I measured their growth, which makes me a little sad but and we agree that place too says. I grew all those other apartments. When I was single that Derek moved me out of- and I would like for him to see the next place just cause- I know he'd say it: He'd say something nice about me moving up again. That would make me feel good. That's Emily!
Roberto, she's, the author of cells, books, including searching for Zion the quest for home in the african diaspora. She lives with her. bend and two children in New York City and Looking on a new book about the superintendent of a New York apartment building more after the break, but tat state isn't a holiday, It is an opportunity when you open and fund of Fidelity Retail IRA there, no account fees and no minimums, plus you could help lower your taxable income for the twenty twenty one tax year, there's still time to make a tax smart move to visit, fidelity, dot com, Slash IRA today, investing involves risk, including risk of Fidelity brokerage services, member NYSE, Sipc
I love, spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes, when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in salary It may have happened again. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words. Then I was get nervous. I sent it to my parents or something me and my dad. We likes this time you together and I wish cuz it out it. J, a c k, p o t jackpot, Yeah nice I'm same is risky. The digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at annoying times dot com, flash games.
Here's Daniel Jones editor of the modern love column for the New York Times, I love about Emily's pieces. This idea that there people in our lives and often service people. In this. The moving man who sort of traces changes in our lives over a period of years and provides only kind of kind of a comfort in this case, I'm a model of what she wants a man to be. But also someone who's judgment we so to take to heart even though you know what they probably spent. You know No more than a few hours together every few years as these moves take place, but I just thought that connection. Some moving and how much certain emotional wait she attaches to this relationship. next week, Jennifer Goodwin.
On a reverse sort of honeymoon, grief, united US stripped of petty complaints, we felt grateful for, everything for waking up to sunlight on the bed for each other's hands beneath the sheets with dark humour of comrades and suffering. We called any kind of parenthood other than What we had endured parenting light we had held our child until the end after that what could be so bad about having to change three dirty diapers in a row at the Sioux? What parent could resent child staying home from school with the flu, if we were lucky enough to be parents together again figured. We would never complain about anything
Modern love is the production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced erected and edited by Caitlin, O Keefe original scope in sound design by Matt, Reed Iris. There's our executive producer, Daniel, as the editor of modern love for the New York Times and adviser to the show special thanks to cement the Hennig an australian and melee at the New York Times idea of the modern love podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin. I make the Chuck Rubare see a next week.
Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.