Eleven months ago, I was searching through Facebook trying to find accommodations in Madrid. The summer camp in Galicia where I was working was coming to an end, and I knew I needed a place to stay. I had yet to receive my placement for the upcoming school year. I had no idea whether or not I’d be in Madrid, Barcelona or San Sebastian. So I had no choice but to begrudgingly return to my adopted home, bear the heat, and wait.
I found a listing for an apartment in a ritzy part of the city in one of my Facebook groups. It had a window and ample space–things that my last apartment had severely lacked. The roommates were also willing to let me stay there temporarily. As I only needed a place for a month and a half, I was sold.
I was also broke. There was just enough money to pay the rent and the deposit–with just enough left over to not starve. No exaggeration. In lieu of the metro, I walked. Eating out was not even a consideration and the idea of shopping was laughable.
In this spirit, I naively handed over nearly all the money I had made at the to camp to the owner of the apartment. He was in effect, a friend of a new friend. Because I had found the apartment on Facebook, I was okay with the rather informal nature of our agreement. Until the money touched his hand. He then started talking about possible additional fees. I immediately felt a slight tinge of regret.
There were, however, two saving graces. One, that my mother was coming to Madrid to help me move. She was well aware of my financial troubles and could help me out. Secondly, despite my feelings of regret, continued to believe I was going to get my deposit back.
You can already see where this is going. Six weeks came and gone and my time in Madrid was coming to a close finally. I informed the landowner the night before exactly when I’d be leaving. He told that he would run to the bank in the morning and return my deposit. I left out a sigh of relief hoping that my intuition was wrong.
It wasn’t. The next morning he was gone. Minutes before my taxi showed up, he sent me a text telling me that he would send me the money “soon.” I was infuriated. It was a type of anger that I had never felt before. I had been angry with myself before for not listening to intuition. But in this case, I had so few options, there was literally nothing I could do to change it.
We argued for a while on Whatsapp until he blocked my number. Throughout the year, I planned to return to Madrid and confront him, but I never got the opportunity. A bigger person might just let it go, but I haven’t reached that level of maturity yet.
In September, I must return again to Madrid to attend orientation for my new program. Although I hate Madrid, I saw this as the universe giving me a second chance. I fully intend on leaving the city with my deposit in hand. Because despite what some may believe, this battle is far from over.
In fact, the drama over the fianza (deposit) has just begun.