So, I have yet to live on my own.
My first long-term relationship was with my roommate.
I remember a conversation on a couch…
“Are we going to regret this?”
“That we’ve never…dated…you know?”
“Hmm…I guess…I don’t know. We go on dates...”
“That’s not what I mean. Will we regret never having had a proper courtship? The dating period, having our own places, choosing— really choosing— to live together.”
I feel a little hollow and all I can articulate is, “Oh.”
Followed with, “Well, do you want to? Live apart, I mean. I’m sure we can find a way out of this lease, figure something out…”
But it feels like a big fat lie I’m spouting for all the effort and cash it’s going to cost. Let’s be real. We’re 21 years old, in Manhattan and just forked a fat wad of monies for this proper one-bedroom apartment not even a month ago. The entire reason we’re living together is because it’s convenient and cost-effective. Well, there’s love too.
I look at her and see concern and consternation.
Which makes me pause, doubt, rethink.
we I should seriously reconsider this. This is a point of no return of sorts; even my pseudo-adult self knows that undoing, retreating, detaching is always more exhausting a process than getting over the shock, hurt, adjustment in the present.
“Hmm…I-I wonder if…what do you think? For real? I know it’d be a shit process but I don’t want you to regret this.”
We’re not even unpacked.
I roll a spliff because it’s what I do in these uncomfortable moments when heavy uncertainty clouds the air. Getting high isn’t the goal as it’s the calm within the routine I seek. Like ironing.
But we get high. I look at the cat stretching in the windowpane sun squares on the hardwood floor and take in my familiar surroundings: colorful furniture we hand-painted last year, schools of soft plastic, blue Jedi goldfish gathered on ceiling corners, a beautiful, delicate orchid that we hope will make it, post-jostling move (a ‘grown-up present’ from her parents given a few months ago, her 21st birthday) and the art on the walls that comfort in their familiarity.
We’ve laid a touching foundation for our home.
We get sentimental, talk of not wanting to live apart because the love and like in the moment is worth risking cohabitation-induced regret and/or speeding up a breakup.
We show our youthful naiveté.
I live alone for an entire three months before a roommate enters the triplex my ex and I shared in the South. Then I get a boyfriend and it seems the most sensible choice for him to stay with me during our crazy honeymoon phase because he lives a state away. Our first night together is our last night apart for at least a year, when he leaves for some cowboy-Montana-ranch thing. In the span of three years, we can count the number of nights we spend apart. On two hands.
This boyfriend, my current ex-girlfriend and wife, and I realize our cohabitation time is coming to a definitive end in Tokyo.
I contemplate my words regarding personal space:
I need to have a place to call my own, to fill with objects of my own choosing, to maintain as I like without considering somebody else.
I have never lived alone.
I resent this inexperience.
The luxury of daily emotional support from my ex/best friend/wife/roommate in spite of challenging fights and moments of high emotion is not lost on me.
Nor is the fact that I am kept alive through alcohol poisoning and nursed through a recent Dengue Fever because of her.
There is an ideological shift.
I consider my past, how my natural inclination is to share my life with the ones I love.
It’s what I do and I’m starting to think it’s the way I live my life.
P.S. Reader requested topics: I’m working on it!