Rm w/a Vu(8)

By: A. D. Ryan

“While I’m not sure angering him is a wise decision,” I say, “I have to admit, the idea of him being jealous is quite appealing.”

The chimes above the door ring, and I turn quickly, thinking that maybe Ben has decided to stop by again. I’m happy to see it’s not him, just a group of students coming in early on a Saturday morning for coffee and breakfast. Picking up my own muffin and coffee mug, I leave Katie to her work while I go to the table I’ve claimed and pull out my laptop to start that paper I told Mom I needed to do.

As always, I become so immersed in my schoolwork that nothing else seems to register. Katie is awesome about making sure I’m not interrupted and keeps my coffee cup full. She brings me a ham sandwich, even though I haven’t asked for it, because she knows I’ll need to eat before I start my shift.

I acknowledge her with a smile before pulling the plate toward me. “Thanks.” I take a bite and then notice the folded paper under her arm. I chew slower as I stare at the mangled paper, and I suddenly realize that my parents’ place isn’t a last resort. “Hey, you mind if I take that?”

Katie looks down at it and shrugs. “Knock yourself out. Mind if I ask why?”

I set my sandwich back down and brush the crumbs from my fingertips before taking the outstretched paper and opening it to the last page. “Because I’m going to find a place where people aren’t having sex all the time.”

“The classifieds?” Katie seems a little apprehensive about my plan. She wouldn’t be if she had to live with what I currently am.

Wishing me luck, Katie heads back to work, and I peruse the multiple ads. I don’t get to look them over very long, just long enough to circle the first three that catch my eye, before I note the time and pack everything up into my bag so I can start my shift. As soon as I clock in, Katie takes her break, leaving me with three customers in line.

The routine is the same, save for the order the drinks come in, and in the first hour I’ve probably made five frappuccinos, ten espressos (three of which were doubles), six cappuccinos, and twelve lattes. All different flavors, so that keeps me on my toes.

Katie comes back from her break as soon as the crowd thins, because that’s how it always happens, so we spend the next little bit cleaning up the back counter and stocking everything we’ll need for the dinner rush. As we do, Katie starts talking about her boyfriend and how they are planning to take a trip to Jamaica as soon as school lets out.

Hearing her talk about her rock solid relationship only serves to remind me of my failed one. I’m happy for her, sure, but it does little to offer me any solace. While I’m in no way ready to date, just knowing that it is possible to be in a happy, committed relationship kind of bums me out. I mean, even my parents are in that mid-life, 24/7, I-can’t-keep-my-hands-off-you stage. How depressing is that? I’m in college. Shouldn’t I be going to parties and hooking up with guys at random?

Katie leaves at four, having finished her shift, and the closing server, Mel, comes in to take her place since I’m off in just two hours myself. Mel tells me she can hold down the fort if I want to take a break, so I grab a muffin and a bottle of water before grabbing my paper and a pen. Sitting at one of the tables by the window, I draw my knee to my chest, my foot flat on the seat of the chair, and I chew on the cap of the red pen while I scan the advertisements.

There’s one that sounds promising…right up until the douchebag mentions that “hot chicks welcome to inquire.” I immediately cross it off; there’s no way in hell I’ll even entertain the idea. There’s another one, but this time the woman is all business and isn’t “looking for a BFF.” While I’m not either, I am completely turned off by what comes across as PBS: Potential Bitch Syndrome. Seriously, where did people learn to write ads these days?

Another one catches my eye, and I circle it before moving on. There are less than a handful of decent ads in the paper, and it’s a little disheartening. It doesn’t bode well for my odds. Then I realize that I don’t have to limit myself to the paper; Craigslist, while a little scary, is usually swimming in ads seeking a roommate.