by Haven B.
Short vignette describing two roommates.
|As she shuffled down the hallway Alice clung to the wall, training her eyes on her nondescript ballet flats. Her gait was off in some way, like she might have had a slight limp, but it was barely noticeable. She moved with her shoulders hunched, like someone who had gone through years of ridicule and was afraid it could happen again any moment. Nearing her apartment she heard a quiet booming that grew in volume with each step she took. Slowly she realized it was the bass line of a rock anthem. Uh oh! she thought, her stomach filling with dread as she realized where it could be coming from. Growing closer to the music she put her hands to her ears in a hopeless attempt to block out the noise. Her suspicions were confirmed when she reached the door of her apartment, from which the music was definitely coming.
Her head felt like someone was pounding on it with a hammer, and she internally punished herself for the umpteenth time. Her "musical" friend Jacob, had once again weaseled his way into her life, convincing her that he would be the perfect housemate. The landlord was definitely going to kick her out this time. She flinched as she opened the door and the earsplitting noise echoed through the hallway. The smell of something burning hit her and she rushed to the kitchen almost tripping over Jacob's muddy shoes. Sure enough it was a disaster, starting with some burnt toast still in the toaster. A jar of jam lay open, and the sticky substance covered the counters and floor. On top of the lit stove, a pot of oatmeal was gurgling and bubbling like an angry cauldron.
Feeling like crying, thinking of all the clean-up she would have to do, she took a deep breath and composed herself. After turning off the stove she slunk to the tiny living room where the TV played some sort of violent, man-slaughtering video game. A bag of Cheetos lay open on the couch and orange fingerprints covered the cushions and remote. The girl followed the path of destruction Jacob had made into the bathroom. The sink was on, and the running water was eating away at a piece of lavender soap. Alice turned off the tap and put the soap back in its dish. Stepping over a pile of dirty clothes she a trailed the wet footprints leading to her bedroom.
Upon seeing the bedroom she squealed in fear and disgust. Compared to the rest of the apartment the bedroom was truly a warzone. The music was coming from a speaker in the corner and her laptop lay face down on the ground along with remnants of a McDonald's Happy Meal. The drawers of her dresser were opened and had obviously been rifled through, probably while Jacob was looking for something to wear. In the center of everything, Jacob lay on her bed surrounded by empty cans of soda and candy wrappers, his snores sounding like the roars of a lion.
Alice waited impatiently for Jacob to wake up. She had decided she would tell him once and for all he had to leave, but was she strong enough to do it? She had picked her laptop up from the ground and was doing schoolwork when she heard Jacob stir. He rubbed his face and looked around the room until his gaze landed on her. "Hey," he grunted and then strode out of the bedroom, Alice in tow, unsure of what to say. She watched him stuff his feet into his shoes and grab his keys off the counter. "See you later," he concluded with a quick nod. Then he opened the door and let it close on the girl, her mouth open like a fish gasping for air.
"Wait," she pleaded weakly to the closed door. Then she collapsed to the ground and started to sob.