The salary was low, but a rep from the company gave me a tremendous tip. She said that rental houses in the area were fabulous, but expensive. However, you could easily make up the extra cost by simply renting out on AirBnB one weekend a month. Having to go camping or having to drive down to LA stay with friends one weekend a month wasn’t ideal, but the gorgeous two-bedroom house with a distant view of the rocky Pacific shore that looked torn from the pages of Sunset Magazine with a garden in the backyard was more than worth it.
I upgraded my life in a short amount of time. I went from working part-time as a waitress and part-time as a background extra in TV and living in a dirty, cramped environment, to working full-time with a job that gave me certifiable future skills and let me live in a lush dream of fresh air and freedom. There is no other way to put it other than to say the change was simply good for my soul.
Until the day that I found those Polish words carved into the inside of my closet.
Once I combed through the cloud of fear that initially engulfed my brain upon discovery, I could only think of one thing: Thom Garretson.
Thom was my dream of a renter. The first person to jump on renting out my house for a weekend, Thom was an almost comically short 30-ish guy who seemed to overcompensate for his lack of height with a ridiculous handle-bar mustache, slicked back black hair and perpetual leather jacket. Even if he came off a bit like a tool, he couldn’t have been a nicer guy or a better renter.
I was always telling co-workers how wonderful he was in that he rented my place one weekend a month, always left the place spotless (even buying his own cleaning supplies) and always left some beer or desserts in the fridge for me for when I came back after spending the weekend camping or staying with friends. I was especially appreciative of this because my co-workers always mentioned how their renters were frequently college kids or young hippies who would party and trash the place or possible tweakers looking for a place to cook up a new batch.