The term Michelle Denise thought she had done everything she could to secure her midtown Toronto dream house on Alcina Avenue, courting the semi by visiting often, showering the home with compliments, and demonstrating her commitment by offering over the asking price. Alas, it wasn't meant to be.

The one that got away.

Her name was Alcina, and it was over before it even started.

It wasn't love at first sight: I barely even looked at the listing. Alcina is semi-detached, and I wasn't in the market for semis. My agent knew this.

But this one was different, my agent insisted. Give her a chance!

And so I did. A date was arranged to visit Alcina, and I went to prove I wasn't being close-minded. You never know, my agent said. The first impression didn't do anything to change my mind, but one step inside, and I was hooked.

Alcina was wide and spacious, and full of light. So many skylights! A giant master bedroom! Just enough quirk to be interesting but not so much as to be impractical. She was current and tasteful, timeless and comfortable. Perfectly located between our school and our favourite park. In the back was the garden of my dreams. And the kicker was a stunning studio, where my partner could create art and be inspired.

I was in love!

Alcina Av, the location of 'the house that got away.' Alcina Av, the location of 'the house that got away.'

I visited Alcina as often as possible. I went to every open house: planning my life, arranging my furniture and resenting the intruders checking out my closets. I silently chuckled when I overheard two young sisters fighting over bedrooms; sorry to tell you, Madison and Sienna, but neither of you are getting the third floor bedroom (with its own bathroom). She's mine.

I mentally arranged my books in rainbow order among the ample shelving, and made a note to source out white oak flooring. I showed co-workers the photos and told all my friends about my soon-to-be new home. I practically introduced Alcina to my parents. It was a done deal.

Come offer day, I was serious and ready to commit. I threw in my best offer and then some, holding back just enough for a modest sign-back. Waiting at a nearby bar for confirmation felt like a formality, and I pictured celebrating that evening with champagne on my new porch, toasting with the seller to our new futures. I would promise to keep her garden blooming.

So imagine my shock when I was unceremoniously rejected. Sorry, said my agent. It wasn't meant to be, said my friends. You'll get the next one, said my banker. But I didn't want the next one, I wanted that one. I wanted Alcina. I threw more money than was reasonable at this house, and still she wasn't mine. I loved her.

My agent reassured me that we had done our best. We went in strong, appropriately and ridiculously over-asking, but someone else wanted her more. All's fair in love and real estate, I guess.

But it hurt. The future I saw so clearly, dissolved in an instant. Given to someone who couldn't possibly find as much joy in the laundry chute as I would have. It was small solace to learn we hadn't lost our dream home by a few bucks, but by a whole salary. Someone stole my home, and it made me feel better to know that it cost them a lot to do so.

Back home, my husband is moping, lamenting that we will never find such a perfect house in this city again. Me? I'm heartbroken.

Alcina, you're the one that got away. And we never even had a chance.

Toronto Condos & Homes