I was 21 and on top of the world. I had a great class schedule, job, friends, and all I needed was my apartment to open up in a couple of weeks. Until then I was crashing on a friend’s futon in her one room apartment with her and her best friend. I just had to walk a mile to and from school. No big deal, even if it was 10 o’clock at night.
Good Friend was just that when she heard that my apartment wouldn’t be ready for a month after school started. She looked at me and said, “A month isn’t that long. Stay with me. As long as you like my best friend Tough Chick.” Luckily for me, Touch Chick and I got along like two peas. Not only did Tough Chick move down that year, so did another friend of Good Friend, SP. Unfortunately SP brought drama with her like it was luck.
Less than a week into school, SP was still crashing at a random friend’s place and her search for a permanent place was getting desperate. And she wanted to crash with the Good Friend, Tough Chick, and me. Four girls and one bathroom is not a good combination, even if some of us were low maintainance.
Thursday night we decided to all go to dinner together after I got out of class. I was poor, so Good Friend was insisting on taking me out to get a few vegetables in me. A common goal for her. Joining us was Loose Canon, a close friend of mine who was also SP’s upperclassman buddy through a church organization.
That Thursday I walked into a hornets’ nest of drama when I opened the door and walked into an overly stuffed apartment.
SP: (whining) But what am I going to do?
Me: (whispering to the Tough Chick) What the hell is going on?
Tough Chick: SP found another room to rent, and the owner wants her to look at it tonight.
Me: And the problem is . . . ?
SP: (whines) I want to go to dinner with you.
Tough Chick and I rolled our eyes together.
Good Friend: Just call him and see if we can all come.
Me: We could always wait in the car.
SP: No. No, I want your opinions.
Loose Canon: Of course! It is two guys that live there.
Tough Chick and I rolled our eyes again. SP called the owner on the phone; while I slipped on a pair of jeans and my college sweatshirt.
Tough Chick: You know, it’s still like summer out there.
Me: I’ve been freezing my ass off in the business building. I need to get warm. And, this ain’t real summer, Northern Cal.
Tough Chick: Excuse me, Arizona.
Ten minutes later, five college girls were trumping up the stairs of a condo. SP and Good Friend were in the lead. Then came Loose Canon. Tough Chick and I were still trying to convince them we could wait in the car. SP knocked.
A guy, who looked only a few years older than us, opened the door and gave us a friendly greeting. He had short brown hair, spiked up, and glasses. He wore a tank top with three frogs behind three shot glasses, Jim, Jose, and Jack. He ushered us in where a guy with long hair was watching TV on the biggest TV I had ever seen.
I closed my eyes and listened to my instincts. It was something I was relearning to do with the help of my counselor. “Fae, you have great instincts. You get in trouble when you don’t use them.” My first instinct was these are good guys.
The guy: Hi! I’m C. That’s S. (S. looked over his shoulder smiled, nodded, and gave a half-ass guy wave.) Would you guys like a German chocolate cake shot?
We said our no thank you’s and introduced ourselves. C proceeded to show us around. There was a poker table near the front door. In the family room area, there were two more couches and a huge L-shaped desk with a computer.
C: Don’t mind the pink carpet and tile. That came from the last owner.
He led us upstairs to the room for rent. There was a student desk and a futon frame.
C: The furniture is yours if you want it.
Good Friend: Fae, you could use a desk, right? I mean, you don’t have any furniture.
Me: I have a bookcase. But yeah, I could use a desk.
Loose Canon: Could she put a deadbolt on her door if she wanted to?
C: Um, sure, if she wanted too.
Tough Chick and I rolled our eyes.
C led us downstairs. SP and Good Friend went upstairs to confer.
C: So. I don’t remember any one’s names. What if I learned your majors instead?
Loose Canon: Organizational leadership.
Tough Chick: I’m not in school. I came down here to get into the sherif’s department.
Me: Creative Writing.
C: That’s interesting. What do they teach in creative writing?
Me: To write creatively. It’s a fake major like organizational leadership. I could buy it for 500 bucks in the mail.
I smiled. He smiled.
SP: So, I’ll think about it and call you.
C: No problem. You have my cell. Hey, if you guys are interested, we’re having a bar-b-que here this weekend.
Good Friend: Thanks. We’ll think about it.
It was a half an hour later, and the conversation revolved around the room for rent as we ate dinner.
SP: On the positive side: It includes, internet, satellite, HBO, and a maid service every other week. It’s a nice size room and a garage space. I can have friends over; he doesn’t have a dozen cats or a kid. They both seemed nice. But then I’d be living with two guys. And I’m sharing a bathroom.
Me: It’s a guy how much bathroom space and time could he take?
Loose Canon: I say no. Why risk your safety? You don’t know these guys.
Tough Chick: Loose, you’re crazy.
Me: Trust me. They’re good guys.
SP: Maybe we should vote.
Good Friend: Yes, you won’t get a better deal.
Tough Chick: Yes.
Loose Canon: No.
There are times when we make a decision, a small one, and it changes everything.
SP: Ok. I’ll call him now and tell him. Thanks, guys.