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“Hunt” really is an appropriate word when talking about looking for a new apartment.

Sure, unlike a fox, the apartment isn’t running away, dodging you at every turn. (No, that’s what your landlord will do after you move in and he doesn’t fulfill his promise to fix that leaky sink in the bathroom.) But it does send you running through the city at full speed, wanting to find the “perfect” apartment before another wolf snatches it from under your nose, bringing out your most primal instincts.

I had very few rules when The Ex Fiancé and I decided to move in together. I wasn’t too worried about the living part – we’d lived together in Iowa while we were engaged. (And THAT went splendidly…) All I needed: an actual one bedroom versus a studio. $1,400 a month. (Not unfathomable in Washington Heights or Bushwick in 2013.) And – most importantly – allows cats.

We looked at a ton of apartments. I didn’t like this one because it was in Queens. He didn’t like that one because he said it was too small. (He was still, after a year in New York, stuck in a Midwest state of mind.) He made a big point of complaining that we couldn’t find anything because my price point was too low. All seemed hopeless.

“I found the perfect place,” he told me one day. He gave me an address, and I showed up at noon.

The apartment was in Astoria – a 10-minute walk from the last stop off the NQ. It was a THREE-bedroom railroad. And it was $1,900 a month.We walked through the three narrow bedrooms, the two between the living room and the third bedroom having no windows/sunlight. “I don’t understand why we need three bedrooms,” I said quietly. “Also, the floors are slanted.” Worst, the lease started a month before my current lease ran out.

“It’s perfect,” he said again.

I wanted him to be happy. I thought, maybe, if he was happy, that I would be too. There was a nice sized kitchen, a new bathroom, and I’d get one of the three rooms to do whatever I wanted with. (It would probably turn into a giant closet.)

“I can afford $1,000 if you can do $800,” he negotiated. I borrowed some money, put down three months rent (plus my last month at the current apartment), and we moved in together.

This is how it’s supposed to be, I told myself. Ian-Michael and The Ex Fiancé. Fated to be together from the beginning.

Our first night together, my cat Maya shit in the bathroom. It seemed she didn’t believe in fate or the “cosmic forces” that seemed to draw us back together time and time again. The Ex Fiancé and I, we were animals, following our primal instincts, chasing the fox (or each other, rather) simply because it was ingrained in us.

But Maya – she was smarter than us. She knew the shit that was to come.

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