I sat there on the couch, nothing much to do, bored of everything. It was almost evening and the Sun had almost set. I was too lazy to turn the lights on and was pretty much sitting in darkness, my mind clouded, hazy, fighting off sleep for no reason. It was a Sunday which made it worse. The prospect of getting up early the next day and heading off to work in the pouring rain and the gloominess it brought along sucked out any ounce of hope or cheer in me. A cup of coffee seemed to be a good idea. And then the thought of going into the kitchen and staring at all the vessels lying in the sink defeated any urge to get up. They had been lying there for close to 48 hours now. All my roommate’s doing. I had grown tired of cleaning up after him. Sometimes I wondered if I should move out. But then what if I felt lonely and bored there?! I’ll just have myself to blame and not the roommate.
We had been staying together for close to a year now. Almost the end of the lease. Another month before I’d have to decide on either declaring freedom or maintaining the status quo for another year. I knew he had no idea of moving out by himself and was looking forward to renewing the lease with me. I was perfect for him – a doormat who never brought himself to stand up for what he believed in or even find the courage to say what he wanted to, putting up with all kinds of shit and cringing and cribbing to himself and writing it all in a blog which he never found the courage to share with anyone else for fear that the roommate might find out.
The house was a mess. Stains all over the carpet, vessels lying around unwashed, clothes lying around stinking of sweat, the house itself stank a nauseating stench. It would be hard to believe someone was living here. Even people in slums lived better.
The roommate had been good initially, luring me with strict conditions and schedules of who should clean what and cook what on which days. The initial impression of cleanliness made me wonder if I’d be able to match up to it. Lacking in discipline I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to change and decided to seize the day. It lasted one month. In fact it took me that one month to realize that I was the one doing all the cleaning, all the cooking and sometimes even all the washing as he managed to convince me about taking one extra turn as he was busy with this or that. We had a good time though. Movies, parties, getting drunk on weekends, the occasional hikes and drives. It was fun. Even that fell apart gradually. There were no movies to be seen as he said he downloaded them all and was ready with reviews the day they released. He turned up drunk at home most of the weekends sometimes needing help into bed. Hikes and drives were a thing of the past as he gained weight at all the wrong spots and started stinking of cigarettes. Soon the occasional conversations stopped and we became strangers under the same roof.
I wondered how long before I would break. Weekends now meant sitting in front of the computer and staring at it. The same old mailbox to which no one sent anything, not even freaking forwards, the same old social networking sites where people showed off and rubbed their life in. Work had also reduced and I felt too lazy to contribute. I knew I was in a shitty job and needed to get out. But the inertia and the haze my living situation had created were too strong to break through and take action. I suffered under the pretense of endurance. I wanted out, I knew it deep in my heart, I knew it right at the surface of the heart in fact! But then I was held captive by my own inertia, my own inability to break the shackles and see light, the perennial rains and gloominess helping me in no manner.
I heard the key turning in the lock and a faint sliver of fading sunlight spilled into the room before being snuffed out by the shadow of my roommate. He walked in, staggered in in fact. ‘Hi’ I mumbled. I got a faint nod as response. (Or was it my imagination?)He continued walking towards his room. ‘Did you pay the rent this month?’ I ventured. Given all his fallacies, he hadn’t missed a single bill even once, and I knew he had paid the rent too. He didn’t respond. It was as if I didn’t exist. His behavior had changed over time from a warm friendliness to gradual indifference to an acceptance of my presence, a presence he didn’t want to acknowledge but I knew he couldn’t do without.
He went into his room, closing the door behind him. I stood there watching his door, my mind blank, the haziness having taken over totally. The door opened and he walked out, the light of a dim bulb only giving me a silhouette. He went into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. I stood there watching the door of the bathroom, my mind still blank. He came out, again the silhouette, this time standing in front of me.
Oh my God! He was talking to me! Was I imagining things? No he really was talking to me…
‘Go away from my life! Haven’t you ruined me enough?! Its been a year now! I killed the previous one and then you turn up! Why, why, why? Why don’t you leave me alone?’ He was almost in tears. I wondered what was wrong. The killing of the previous roommate part strangely did not scare me or discomfort me in any manner. It was as if I knew it all along, although this was the first time he had mentioned it. He was still talking – ‘How many more shrinks do I have to see before you go away! How many more of you do I have to kill! You don’t exist, you are just me…leave me alone…leave me alone’ he was literally sobbing now.
Weird…I always thought he needed me…