When it rains, I always picture the tree above the roof falling on the house. It doesn’t even need to be raining, really. I made my roommate switch rooms so it would be his bed crushed under the largest branch. He didn’t mind, slightly larger room, and when he shrugged and said okay, I wondered just how many quirks he’d put up with. I already had my bed on stilts because the plumbing was too noisy, but I may have been making that up, or how I liked to sleep with my door slightly open because closed doors, I told him, I felt were too exclusive. Again, he shrugged, and now has to make his morning coffee quietly as to not wake me.
He did like that I supplied to furniture and sometimes had a friend or two over he could hit on. And he would, theatrically so, often his arm around one, winking at another. THe right blend of insecurity and shelteredness was bound to fall. Watching him tell the same made up story about running with the bulls in Spain, his fashion sneakers still a brilliant red, I get reminded something my first girlfriend’s mother said the first time I came over. We were sixteen and I had just taken my driving test. We had dinner and talked about school or intramurals or jazz choir. Right as I left, right at the front door was closed behind me, I hear the mother say, “I’ll never understand why the prettiest girls always date the ugliest boys.”
I’m never exactly sure what my roommate does to make me think of that.
Maddie always saw through my roommate though. Maddie walked in beauty, was that Byron? She wasn’t beautiful, no, she was walked in it. She’d always bring fresh flowers and her wrap around skirts always fit impeccably well.
Maddie came over with scones she made and my roommate tried all his usual tricks which were met with Maddie’s uh-huhs and occasionally an unenthusiastic oh really? Wow… I liked watching her combat him.
I remember scurrying home in the rain, staring up at the tree above the house, stepping inside and having him ask me for Maddie’s number, or even her e-mail would do, he told me. I gave it, thinking her reaction to his pursuit would be entertaining if nothing else.
And then a week later, seeing her fight off tears in our kitchen after I saw her use his toothbrush the night before.
Willing it to rain, or else I’d cut that damn branch down myself.