The night before my best friend and I painted our new apartment, roomies for the first time, she informed me that she was moving out in six months to live with her lawyer boyfriend.
“But I’m really looking forward to being your roommate,” Katie said. “Want another beer”?”
Huh? Uh, yeah, I wanted two or three.I couldn’t believe I was losing my roommate before we had even moved in together!
After coming out of my Dos Equis induced fog, I did what any good friend would do in such a situation–I prayed she and the lawyer would break up. Naturally, that didn’t happen (well, it did but about twenty years later). So I opted for the next best thing–I went into denial, figuring a new roommate would magically appear the day after Katie moved out. But the weekend I watched her pack up her boxes and sell her aging couch at our garage sale, I realized the lawyer had won another case.
Tucked away in an old downtown neighborhood, our apartment was on the second floor of a small art deco styled building and boasted wood floors, a screened–in porch off the kitchen, and a huge backyard overlooking laurel oak trees and the annuals our landlady had planted. A dreamsicle of a find, the space wasn’t pricey but I couldn’t afford the rent by myself. I figured I would do the practical thing and put a Roommate Wanted notice in the classifieds.
“Don’t do that, “ a co-worker warned. “You’re going to get a lot of nuts calling you.”
No worries, I assured her. I would take steps to make sure that didn’t happen. Confident in my control of the situation, I went ahead placed the ad:
“Female roommate wanted. Beautiful two-bedroom apartment. Historic downtown neighborhood. Non-smoking. No calls from men accepted.”
I was in business. The ad would run on Sunday (people still subscribed to the newspaper in those days) when readership would be the highest. I was ready to meet my new roomie.
The following Sunday my alarm clock went off at 6:30. Or I thought it did. After waking and reminding myself it wasn’t a work day, I realized that it was the phone that was ringing. Who would be calling so early? I hoped nothing was wrong.
Oh, but it was. Very, very wrong.
“Hi honey. I’ve got a big seven inch c—k. How about I come over and you su–“
What the hell?
I slammed down the receiver. Freak!
I went back to bed. But not for long.
“Hello,” I answered the phone.
This time all I heard was heavy breathing until–
“May I aide your pu—y?”
“Who is this?”
“Don’t you want a new roommate? What’s your address, baby?”
Shit. I should have listened to my co-worker.
Over the next few hours (actually until 10:00 that night—yeah, yeah, I should have unplugged my phone), I heard from a wide assortment of perverts and sociopaths. Some more memorable than others–
“Um, hi. I need a roommate who can help plug me into my medical equipment.”
I didn’t want to play doctor or nurse or whatever this particular sicko had in mind. I’d had enough. I reached for the telephone cord and yanked.
The next morning after reconnecting with the world, I got a call from a youngish sounding woman who introduced herself as Gracelyn and apologized for calling a day late.
“I was at the beach all weekend. I work at a bank downtown.Do you still need a roommate?”
Did I ever! Could she come over after work?
Around 5:30, after tidying up for the fifth time, I met Gracelyn at the front door. Tall with long wavy hair and longer legs, she extended her hand and strode into the room. Not like she already lived there. Like she owned the place.
Twenty-five years old and a financial officer in training, Gracelyn spoke with a southern lilt that confirmed she had just moved to town from Atlanta.
“Well, “ she said, looking around. “This place certainly has possibilities.”
Gee, thanks, Ms. Southern Living.
I handed her a glass of iced water. She took a sip then informed me–
“Just so you know, I have several guys I date. They will be spending the night…now and then.”
Well, at least she had her priorities straight. She’d been here about oh, five minutes? Call me a prude but I really didn’t want to bump into some naked guy I hardly knew on the way to the shower. And wait a minute—several??? What did she have, a stable?
“I’m not really comfortable with that,” I told her. Why did my voice sound so teeny-tiny all of a sudden?
Pointing at a rustic end table that Katie had left behind, Gracelyn changed the subject. “So,” she asked, “did you chop the wood for that yourself?”
Something told me this wasn’t going to work out.
About a month later, after renting a room that was small enough for a ladybug and not much else, I attended Katie’s wedding. She made a lovely bride. But she’d sure been a lousy roommate.