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Chapter 5

Barbara was living happily with JM. One and a half years had passed. She was also the proud owner of a small psychology practice in the Back Bay area, just a short drive from where they lived.

It was only after thinking of having a family did JM realise that to live in the small apartment with a newborn would be fine, but moving would definitely be a priority with births of more children.

I don’t want to rent anymore. I would rather own an apartment, or a house. It has to be near our businesses, he thought, as he looked in the mirror, while shaving.

As they ate breakfast on that bleak morning, he said to Barbara, “I’ll ring an agent and ask what prices apartments or houses are selling for in this area.”

“Are you sure we can afford it?”

“If we’re to have a family, I’d be more comfortable knowing we owned where we live.”

With two dentists assisting, and three months forward bookings, he felt confident about purchasing a home.

Rather than trying to brave the miserable weather battering Boston, Barbara and JM chose to stay indoors. While seated in their small warm living room Barbara browsed some of her clients’ histories stored in her laptop. JM, meanwhile, was engrossed in the latest dental journal that had mysteriously found its way into the apartment.

Would you like a cup of hot chocolate?” JM asked Barbara, midmorning.

“Yes, please. Should I ask Sophia if she’d like to come and have one?”


With their sipping on hot chocolates, the sound of blustery winds accompanied.

“It’s comfortable sitting here in the warmth. I feel sorry for people who are outdoors.”

JM looked up at as Barbara spoke, but turned his vision to Sophia.

Even though we’ll eventually leave, she’ll need re-assuring we’ll still visit her. I’m sure she’ll love being a grandmother.

“I have to discuss something with you, Mrs. K. Don’t be offended by what I’m about to say, but Barbara and I have given some thought to buying an apartment, or a house. Somewhere close to our work. The prices will dictate where we buy. What you think?”

Unbeknownst to them, that particular subject had received, from Sophia, careful consideration.

“I love this building. My late husband also, but it’ll needed an owner who will care for it, as my late husband and I have. I’m hoping you will cherish, similarly. I’ve re-written my will and nominated you the beneficiary of my estate.” Before any discussion could begin, she continued, “I also have another plan. It involves setting aside two apartments. One you can purchase now, and the second later. When you’re able, combine the two into one large apartment. I’ll remain where I am. The rents from other apartments will still give me an income, to help pay the building’s upkeep. If you purchase the apartments, I can take care of any grandchildren. In the event of my death, my estate and any monies in the bank go to you. I knew this day was coming. I was trying to find a way to discuss it with Barbara and you, but you two have been busy. I know how important it is to want to own something of your own. It’s the dream of most people. Unfortunately for some, it’s out of reach, but I’ll understand if you don’t agree.”

Surprised, JM thought, I don’t believe it! My children growing up in the same building as me would be amazing. To inherit her estate is beyond belief.

Barbara and JM remained silent. They were still absorbing Sophia’s revelation.

“Well! What do you both think?” Her question had a sense of urgency to it, but realising she was being too anxious, she said, “You’ll need time to think it over … there’s no hurry.”

JM rose and proceeded to hug and a kiss her. “Are you sure this is what you want? Barbara and I have only began to discuss the prospect of owning our own home. We don’t envisage not being able to raise the finances, considering our incomes. Even with repaying the surgery loans, getting a home loan won’t be difficult. Do you mind if we talk it over?”

“No, but keep in mind if you decided against it there’s no urgency with leaving.”

She left their apartment quietly confident they’d accept her proposal.

Her generosity still astounded Barbara. She hadn’t fully understood the depth of love Sophia had for JM.

A few days passed before JM broached the subject again with Sophia.

“We’ll gladly accept your generous offer, but we’ll remain in our apartment and plan the extension. It may sound extravagant, but I’d like to buy the whole floor over time. That’ll give us ample accommodation for any children we plan on having. All we have to do is agree on a price.”

JM then spoke of the price they were willing to pay for his apartment, and the one adjoining.

Sophia willingly accepted.

With just over two years passing, JM and Barbara could finally see the near completion of the two-apartment combination. Only the painting and the carpet laying needed attention, and they had tired of living with the dirt, and tradesmen.

From its inception, Sophia chose to be the projects unofficial supervisor, and she took no crap from anyone. Some tradesmen managed to get their allocated times wrong, so on those occasions she was forced to referee the rare dispute. Fortunately, there were no altercations.

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