Tag Archives: roommate

I Just Want to Live Alone

I want to say this right away: I’m in my office now. I think I’m safe.

I shouldn’t have waited. That was my mistake; that’s the one thing that really is my fault. I shouldn’t have waited; I should have run while I still could; while things were still normal and sane.

I used to like my roommate. He was the artsy type, cheerful, always up for a beer. I don’t know what changed along the way, or when exactly he changed.

I first noticed it when his girlfriend moved in. The first days he was cheerful, then, after their first big fight, Martin began to act servile, submissive even.

She called herself Amaya but I was never sure whether that was her real name. On the letters that arrived for her there were at least three, maybe four different variations of the spelling and some altogether different names. She was somewhere from Asia, that was really everything I knew, and that she liked chocolate.

Either way, around the time Amaya moved in everything changed. It could also have been the job and visa trouble Martin had, or maybe just the winter weather; he became a different person.

Since then I lived in solitude. I paid my share of the apartment, but being in the living room or kitchen or even just to stay for long in the bathroom made me feel uncomfortable, as if I wasn’t quite welcome. They weren’t even in the living room that much – they too just stayed in their room – it was more that the apartment itself, the rooms with the wooden floors, bare white walls and mélange of furniture began to feel threatening.

Around that time my social life died. I can’t really blame my roommates for that, but the constant sense of discomfort, the shallow sleep and the feeling that somehow I was sinking into a black hole; the social part of my self was slowly slipping away. Work and the internet filled the place where once friends had been.

Apart from gray and stiff colleagues the only people that stayed in my life were Martin and Amaya. I thought I could sit it out; wait for the last six months of our contract to finish and then quickly find a new place and become a new and healthy person again. I shouldn’t have waited.

It seemed cute at first – they fought at night and in the morning Martin brought Amaya breakfast to say sorry. That day I left with a smile when I went to work.

When I came home Amaya was again – or still – in their room. Martin cooked and brought her food. At night I heard them shouting.

A week went by before I saw Amaya again. She looked sick and exhausted. Our conversation consisted just of “You okay?” and “Yeah.”

The next days she seemed happier, although the color didn’t really return to her face. I saw both of them occasionally in the living room where they were watching movies on their laptops. That seemed to be their only entertainment, the only thing I saw them doing at all. There was no artsy soul left in Martin; for Amaya I wasn’t even sure if there had ever been one.

My main connection with them was their noise; the way they were seemingly unable to keep any movie or piece of music at a sane volume; not to speak of their constant shouting. Whenever I asked them to be more considerate Martin said “sorry,” turned it down and – after I turned around but before I had even left the room – turned it up again.

They fought a lot. And after every long and loud nightly fight Martin brought Amaya breakfast and dinner for a few days. I hated the sheepish expression he had while carrying the food to their bedroom.

I lost track of my roommates. I forgot when I last saw them; I forgot even when I heard them last or what they were fighting about – although, for the hearing part, the guess “last night” and “something about love” would probably have been the right guesses for most days.

At some point our trash rotation system broke down. I stopped cooking and soon stopped feeling responsible for trash that I was sure wasn’t mine – and they just didn’t care. The kitchen began to smell of old fish, then of rotting fish, then of rotting fish and meat; the smell broke through the closed door, made the living room unbearable and finally invaded our bedrooms. The bathroom with its strong vent and moist air was the only refuge.

They had many fights, Martin loudly and Amaya with a weak voice that at some point always broke into crying. Often he cried too. I didn’t dare to interrupt their fights; twice I brought the trash bags with their nearly liquid contents out myself; then I took the passive-aggressive way of “please bring the trash out” text messages instead.

At some point the fights got shorter, then stopped. When Martin proudly told me that they were engaged I offered a celebration beer – but he refused and went out alone. I sent my congratulations to Amaya by text. She replied late at night with a simple “thx.”

From then on I didn’t see Amaya at all. It might seem strange in retrospect, but at the time I didn’t notice it. I barely ever saw her anyway and our encounters were usually so brief and so meaningless that my mind didn’t bother to remember them.

They only watched movies from then on. Occasionally I thought I heard them speaking between the movie dialogue – but I’m not really sure of that. I gave up and stopped complaining about the noise; I was just happy that the fights had stopped. I slept badly with the movie soundtracks blasting through the wall, but at least, without the fights, I slept.

I really can’t tell whether it’s been two or three months since I last talked to either of them. It’s not that I didn’t try – I definitely did on the few occasions that I saw Martin coming out of the kitchen with two large plates of food in his hands, but he just ignored me, squeezed past me and disappeared in their room.

He began to do weird stuff, as if he was trying to make me get angry or even more uncomfortable. He move furniture to strange places, turned the washing machine or microwave off while I was using it; used my kitchen utensils and even my toothbrush and left thick crusts of smelly brown or red stuff on the brush. No matter how many times I asked him to stop – first politely, then angry, then loudly – he never even responded. Instead he just continued whatever he was doing – usually to cook pieces of fish or large slobs of meat; to burn them a dark black in what used to be my nonstick pan.

The smell began to grow worse. I stopped eating even bread at home; I stopped actually being at home for anything but sleeping. When I signed up for a gym I told my colleagues I wanted to get fit for the summer; the truth is that I just wanted a clean shower.

Every day the same routine: Sleep; buy a croissant on the way to work; shower in the gym; work; eat lunch – sometimes alone, sometimes with colleagues; work; work overtime; eat a sandwich for dinner; sit in the office to video chat with family or waste time online; finally go home and try not to gag while falling asleep.

I was happy when the notice period came. I sent Martin an email and he replied that he would send the email off – his first words to me in months. Three days later I asked how it went; he replied that out message was too late and that we had to pay another month but then “it will end.”

That night I heard Martin leave the house. There were no tears rolling down my cheeks, but inside I cried at the prospect of being in that apartment for another three months. I had a drink to help me fall asleep, then a second and a third and I’m not sure how many after that. I never felt so lonely in my life. Lonely and drunk enough to fantasize about the pretty girl Amaya I met for the first time months ago. Lonely enough to think it a good idea to say “hello” to her.

After all, it’s not like we had any fights or anything. Amaya was quiet, but somewhat nice, most of the time. We just had lost track of each other, right?

The smell should have been a warning. People who live in such smell can’t be good people. My drunk mind told itself that it was okay, that it was probably just Martin’s messiness, dirty plates and they forgot too often to bring the trash out. I laughed at myself when I realized that I too was living in that smell; that I too couldn’t be a good person.

The loud movie dialogue told me Amaya was home. I knocked on the door to their room. No response.

I knocked louder and, when still no response came, finally banged on the door. There was a sound; I took it to mean that I could come in.

The door handle was sticky; the door hard to move.

When I pushed the door open a suffocating smell hit my face; like the burnt and moldy slobs of meat in the kitchen combined with the week-old rotting fish and topped off with old diarrhea.

It was nauseating; sickening; I had to take a step back to keep my dinner in my body. Still I felt the urge to say hello, to at least have some social interaction for the day.

I finally got myself to push the door further open and step inside the room. The thick curtains were drawn; illuminated by just the light of her laptop screen I saw Amaya’s shape on the bed. She was at least three or four times bigger than I remembered her.

“Hey.” I said and stepped inside; my foot hit some sticky mass. I suppressed the urge to run just like the one to vomit. Some fusion of alcohol and loneliness drove me forward; drove me to say “hello” again.

The floor was covered in dirty plates; trash bags; piles of rotting food; and so was the bed on Martin’s side. On Amaya’s side the trash was piled on her body, right on the ripped blanket.

Only at the foot of the bed I realized that the ripped cloth on her stomach wasn’t cloth. Her skin had ballooned and ripped open all through the middle. The rotting food wasn’t on her; it was spilling out of her; through a thick layer of a crusted, brown and red mass.

I left the door open for the police.

While running to the office the image of her bloated body refused to leave my mind. She must have been dead for months. I had seen pictures of bloated corpses, but none like hers.

Then, just when I arrived at the office, my memories clicked into place.

Dead for months. Still he always carried two plates.

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.

Blinded by Love

“You know the expression, don’t you?” He asked.

“What expression?” I asked.

“Oh, you know,” Nikolay said. “Blinded by love.”

I nodded.

“Well,” he said. “For me it was like that. She blinded me. She made me go through all those challenges and tests; it wore me out.”

“You are talking about Lauren?” I asked.

“Yes, Lauren.”

Nikolay smiled.

“I always like her name. It sounds like ‘laureate’; it sounds smart.”

“Sure.” I said.

“But that’s what she used, you know? She used her smarts against me.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“She kept testing me with her games.” Nikolay said. “She always had some new tricks that she played. That started right when we met at the bar.”

“How did you meet?”

“Oh, she talked to me.” He said. “She dumped some cocktail on me and then she apologized and we made small talk.”

“And you fell in love with her that day?”

“Yes.” Nikolay said. “But first Lauren fell in love with me. I saw it in the moment she threw the cocktail – there was so much passion in her eyes. But she was shy about it; she always tried to hide it. That’s why she left so quickly and took the taxi home rather than let me walk her to her house. That was her first challenge.”

“She left, right after meeting you?”

“Well, we talked for a bit. Must have been at least half an hour. But that girl, her eyes, she was just so greedy – she had to control herself by looking away from me. She barely even spoke before she left and I knew that secretly she was already dreaming about us.”

“How did you know that?”

“Oh, it was obvious,” Nikolay said. “The way she averted my gaze and she barely even answered. She was so aroused that she couldn’t even hold her thoughts together.”

“Are you sure she didn’t just try to avoid you?”

“No.” Nikolay shouted. His fist slammed on the table. “She was into me. Why else would she have said her address so loud to the taxi driver?”

“Why did she?” I asked.

“Because she wanted me to hear it, that’s why!” Nikolay said. “She wanted me to come but she didn’t want anyone else to see it; you know how women are, with their reputation and everything.”

“So you think she took the taxi because she wanted you to follow her?”

“Yes.” Nikolay said. “Isn’t that obvious? And that’s why she wasn’t surprised when I showed up at her front door. I rang the doorbell and she didn’t answer the door. But I saw her glancing through the curtain and I’m sure she was smiling. Oh, she was definitely smiling; her smile was intoxicating; that’s the moment I fell in love with her – when I saw her standing behind that curtain in her white nightie.”

“So she didn’t answer the door?”

“No.” Nikolay said. “She wanted to get in my head; she wanted to make me crazy for her – that’s why she did all of it, you know?”

“What did you do?”

“I rang the doorbell a second time, but Lauren was too shy. So I just waited; I waited all night for her and dreamt of pulling the tank top of her body and kissing the smooth skin on her neck. Despite the cold I felt happy; just by thinking of her.”

“So you were in love with her?”

“Of course I was. That was her plan, don’t you get it?”

“Okay, maybe.” I said.

“You sound just like the officer.” Nikolay said. “But it’s true. That was her plan. She knew I would wait. That’s why in the morning she walked into the kitchen with just her bra. And she pretended not to see me, but when she drank the tea I saw her blushing; I saw how aroused she was.”

“What did you do?”

“I just enjoyed the scene. That’s what she wanted me to do anyway. And then when she came out of the house I tried to talk to her again.”

“And she talked to you?”

“She just walked past me.” Nikolay said. “She wanted me to see those tight pants; ah, they just drove me nuts.”

Nikolay had a wide smile on his face.

“She wore them quite often, you know? During those two months she wore them for 22 days. And I’m sure she knew why; she knew what effect she had on me.”

“You stayed outside her house for two months?”

“Well, not the whole time.” Nikolay said. “I also went to some of her classes – history bores me but I knew I had to sit through it for her. And with her it wasn’t boring. Those were the most exciting lectures of my life, while someone talked about Roman history – and she sat in the fourth row, always the fourth row, with her head lowered and her hands making smooth round squiggles on the paper.”

“So you followed her all day?”

“No, of course not. I mean, I had to eat, but sleeping I did mostly outside her house. And then I showered and shaved every two days; I shaved just for her because she told me in the bar that she didn’t like my beard.”

“And while you were outside her window – did Lauren talk to you? Did she maybe ask you to go away?”

“No.” Nikolay said. “A few times she asked me whether I didn’t need to go home and shower or work, but she never told me to go. She just looked at me with these serious eyes and ordered me to go home – and of course I obeyed. It made me happy to know that she liked what she saw.”

“And she never asked you inside or so?”

“Well, she asked on the last day.” Nikolay said.

“We’ll get to that in a moment.” I said. “But you are telling me that you stayed outside her house for two months and she didn’t speak to you?”

Nikolay shrugged.

“That’s the way she was, you know? That was her game, her plan, her strategy; she wanted to make me wild and passionate. And of course she succeeded. A girl like her always succeeds at making drooling idiots out of men like me.”

“But she didn’t give you any signs that she was actually interested in you?”

“Of course she did.” He said. “All those peepshows she gave me through the transparent curtain, and all those times she walked seductively past or in front of me, or when she commented on my appearance, or when she winked while she walked past me, and of course with the love notes she left me.”

“She left you love notes?”

“Yes.” Nikolay said. “I would show them to you, but the police took my coat. Every time in class she made those little notes, twice she even filled a whole page –hearts and of course large ‘N’s everywhere on the page.”

Nikolay smiled.

“’N’ for Nikolay.” He said.

“She left you pages with ‘N’s and hearts in class?”

“Yes.” Nikolay said. “Lauren left them on the table for me. There were other squiggles on there, you know, because she wanted to be tricky about it. But she always left the crumpled papers under her desk for me to find.”

“And you think she did all that to make you want her more?” I asked.

“Exactly.” Nikolay said. “For the same reason Lauren sometimes sent her roommate out. Her roommate was the one that asked me to leave; she said that seeing me made Lauren uncomfortable.”

“And you stayed?”

“Of course I did.” Nikolay said. “I knew that I was arousing her. It was so nice of her to send her roommate out to tell me about it. And of course then she asked her roommate to invite me in.”

“Lauren’s roommate invited you inside the house?”

“Yes.” Nikolay smiled. “She left the door ajar for me. So of course I went in – and Lauren was pretending to be asleep.”

“You went to her room.”

“Of course,” he said. “That’s why she invited me in. She wanted me to crawl under the blanket with her. And of course I did.”

“You went into her bed?”

“Sure.” Nikolay said. “I had waited long enough and she made me crazy for it. It was nice to finally feel her body next to mine. Lauren didn’t even say anything when I rolled on top of her; she just stared at me with those beautiful eyes of hers. And then she began to passionately hit and scratch me. She got really red from her arousal and even screamed from the pleasure. I held her mouth so that we wouldn’t disturb anyone – and then that roommate of hers barged into the room with the knife.”

“Her roommate came with a weapon?”

“Sure.” Nikolay said. “I knew that they just wanted to force me to stay. But luckily the roommate fell and so their nice little plan failed. The roommate even hit her head pretty nice and the moment I had the knife they stopped fighting. They knew I’d won. And so, of course, I paid them back.”

“Can you be more precise?”

“Well, the roommate was a bit too loud so I had to, well, silence her.”

“In what way?” I asked.

“First I cut her tongue.” Nikolay said. “But she was still loud, so I had to, well, silence her for good.”

“You killed her?” I asked.

“No, I didn’t mean to.” Nikolay said. “I just gagged her. The thing with the blood in her lungs that wasn’t on purpose; I guess tongues just bleed a lot and the gag kept it in.”

“And Lauren?”

“Well,” he said. “She took two months of my life so I wanted to take two of hers.”

“You kept her locked in for two months?”

“Only for two weeks. She got too annoying after that, the way she constantly cried.”

“And so you murdered her?”

“Well.” Nikolay smiled. “I’m sure you know the expression ‘An eye for an eye’?”

I hesitated.

“Yes?” He asked.

“Yes.” I said.

“Good, so you understand what justice is.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I thought she would be able to handle it, to find a doctor to fix it. I thought I was actually being nice – I took only two weeks rather than two months, and I only hurt her body. She hurt my heart, you know? You can’t heal a broken heart; it will always hurt.”

“What did you do to her?” I asked.

“Just justice.” Nikolay said. “She blinded me with love; well, so I did the same thing to her body that she did to my heart.”

This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.