It surprised me when she started to talk. I was in the kitchen, my hair in its after-work bun, no make up, barefoot. I wasn't ready for guests in the house, evidenced by my college sweatshirt- the one I only wore without a bra.
"Hi," she exhaled softly, trying to keep her voice down. "I'm Leah."
I had one hand on the freezer side of our french-door refrigerator, the other on the grimy handle of the open fridge, trying for all the world not to fall in. It was the coolest place in the house at the moment and I wasn't about to let this hussy guilt me out of my own kitchen.
I faked a smile and shook her hand.
"I'm Becky. Nice to meet you."
It wasn't nice at all. There were a lot of things I would rather be doing with my life and pretty much at the top of the list was getting out of this dingy rental and away from my roommate and his constant parade of girls. This was the fifth in three weeks.
He wasn't that bad normally. My boyfriend and I took him in partly out of pity, but also because he could pay rent immediately. He was a hipster at its finest: a grubby plaid shirt, an old beanie that sagged in the back and a back pocket iPhone that played haunting folk songs like his life soundtrack. He didn't have a car, his mustache was Captain Hook-esque and he crooned with his acoustic guitar as often as he could. But he seemed eager and willing and that was all we needed.
At first his story was sad: an ex-wife, a six year old son he never saw, a job in which he worked 10 hour shifts six days a week. But then it just got pathetic: the chain-smoking, the stumbling in drunk at 3 am, the phone fights with his ex, his mother and his son visiting for a weekend in which they nearly talked us out of house and home- all government conspiracies and medical problems.
And now girls we only recognized by the cars they parked outside or the distinct shuffle each one made as they slunk through the house the back way. We didn't talk to them and they made sure to avoid us.
This one seemed sweet, but honestly, I'd forget her name by the time I closed the fridge. I knew she would come around once or twice more but finally grow tired of his excuses- how the world was against him, his boss didn't like him or his wife wouldn't let him see his son. Considering the way he tried to hoard our dishes and silverware in his room until he had a full load for the dishwasher or how he never bothered to let our dog out when we were away, I couldn't blame her.
"I love the way you've decorated in here. It is SO cute," she grinned.
I grabbed a kiwi and closed the fridge with my foot. Maybe this one wasn't so bad after all.