“Listen. It’s time for you to grow up! Stop leeching off of everyone! It was only supposed to be a few weeks and now it’s been six months! This ends now!” And just like that, I was out on the street with just a backpack with a change of clothes and some notebooks and my car. I had been staying with my ex-girlfriend. She had dumped me six months ago but I managed to convince her to give me a chance to get on my feet and look for a place to stay. And now just like that, she wanted me out. I try to calm her down but she won’t have any of it. I try to use my puppy eyes that she can never resist. It works. I manage to get 24 hours. That’s more than enough time to find a place.
I need to find a place to stay ASAP. During my lunch, I start searching for apartments online. I see a few great places ten minutes from where I work. I call and I schedule some tours. I go and the first place is amazing! It’s got a pool and indoor gym. The room has a balcony. I am ready to sign the lease. But as we sit down to discuss the details with the deposit and monthly rent and a bunch of other fees there is no way I can afford this. Next two apartments are the same story. Crap! I didn’t think it would be this hard to find a place. I didn’t know how expensive it was. Usually, my girlfriend was the one who took care of these things. I have to expand my horizon. I find a potential place I can afford but it’s in this really crappy neighborhood in Chicago. Well, beggars can’t be choosers.
I make a call and the landlord plans to meet me there. Traffic is horrible but I make it. I meet the landlord at the front door. All he has left is a two room apartment. Before going in to show me around a girl just barges in and says her name is Ursula. I figure she is looking at apartments too. Her hair is a mess and she has wild look in her eye. Despite that, she is wearing makeup. Her look just works and I don’t mind her joining us. We look at the apartment and its 700 dollars. I try to bring him down on the monthly rent. I have to make this work or I am going to be sleeping in my car. As I try to negotiate this random girl just says, “What about if we rent this place together?” I just give her this look. She just came up to a complete stranger and wants to rent an apartment with him. She skips the small talk and dating and jumps straight to moving in with a guy. I thought I was desperate but she must be worse off than I am. “How long have we dated that you want to move in with me?” I joke. I don’t think she was in a mood to joke as it looks like she has to try really hard not to slap me. She tells me her story and how she is desperate to find something. Well at least she has 5 days on her lease and all I have is less than 24 hours. Desperate times call for desperate measures. With a handshake, I have a new place and a new roommate. She asks me out to dinner. Man, this girl moves fast. But I am starving and can use a good meal. We eat and she seems really awkward. I try to make conversation but she is just not having it. I was trying to figure out who would get what room and I was wondering if she had a television for the apartment. The more I talked the angrier she seemed to get. Well if she ends up being a complete pain I will only have to deal with it for a year. I go back to my ex and get my computer and fill a bag with clothes. AS soon as my 24 hours are up she kicks me out.
I make it to my new home. I get to enjoy the apartment for myself without that uptight girl giving me her death-stare. She already brought her stuff in but she is already gone. I try to see if I can get into the neighbors WiFi with no luck. So I call to get everything set-up. I can’t live without an internet connection. It’s my connection to the world. I am starving and decide to look through the fridge to see if there is anything good. There is a bunch of Mexican food. I decide to grab two tamales. With no microwave yet I don’t even bother to heat them up. I don’t know if it’s the hunger but they are the most delicious thing ever. A girl who can cook is not bad. This might be better than I expected. And in the middle of my feast, she plows through the door. I tell her the good news about the WiFi but she just gives me that death-stare. Before she kills me I tell her I’ll pay for the internet in exchange for some food. She doesn’t answer but I take it as a yes. She sits done and I try to make some conversation. I tell her about myself and about how my ex was such an ass and just kicked me out without giving me chance to find a place. I keep talking and she says nothing. She just has that same look of death on her face. I think she does it so much that her face just got stuck like that. But after all, she has gone through I can’t blame her. She hasn’t had an easy time either.
We begin to settle into a routine. This girl is a machine. She is always doing something. She works two jobs and sometimes gets home late. I freaked out the first time she came home late. I was texting her to make sure everything was ok and I didn’t get a response till midnight. Our neighborhood is one of those you hear about on the news every night and sometimes you hear shots in the night. It can feel like a war zone. Luckily everything was OK. I tell her we need to work on our communication to make sure everything is ok. I have some spare time and since she keeps bringing the food I try to help her out when I can. Behind that death-stare is a pretty amazing person and I am more than happy to lighten her load. I help her out when I can and bring her laundry so she doesn’t have to rush from work. She is pretty talented and in her spare time, I see her typing furiously on her computer. I peek over her shoulder and try to help her out. I decide to help her celebrate her birthday with a small cake. Everyone needs cake on their birthday. We have a mini party and enjoy the day. Sometimes the world can be cruel and as soon as she begins to get her things in order she gets in a car accident. Luckily she isn’t hurt but I can tell she is on the edge. I try my best to keep her spirits up. A girl like that is a fighter but every fighter needs good support. I am finally able to break through that death-stare and we start talking more and later into the night. We talk about everything from work and everyday things to our lives and past experiences. She teaches me about things like fashion and makeup that I had never understood before. She goes from trying to kill me to becoming a good friend. But just like that, she puts up a wall. I come home and it’s like she is hiding or she is out of the apartment. I miss our late night talks and helping her with her projects. It feels like something important is missing. And just like that, I realize I have fallen for this girl. In our months together I realize that I have shared more with her than I ever did with my ex. I am sitting at my office and can’t focus. My boss asks me to stay late to finish a project. Of all the days he makes me stay today. I just look at the clock and finally see it’s time for lunch. I decide that it’s finally time for me to provide the food. I go by a sushi place she had mentioned she liked and I buy her some of her favorite rolls. I grab a napkin and scribble a simple yes or no question on it. I walk to where she works and ask some guy where she is and he points in her direction. She doesn’t move. I give her the sushi and let her know I will be late so she doesn’t worry. I quickly walk out. My heart is racing and my hands are balled up into a fist as I walk out. Hopefully, things won’t be awkward the next time we see each other. And not even two minutes later I get the best text message ever: a simple yes.