From the very beginning of our relationship my college bestie and I agreed on one thing; we would only live together if we each had our own room. We love each other to death but are both creatures of comfort meaning we need time to disappear into our own space and recuperate.
Two years of classes, term papers, coffee and a semester abroad and a pandemic flew by and suddenly we were next door neighbors in that the door frames to our rooms touched.
In May of this year I moved into my best friend’s house which she shared the previous year with two other roommates. We are now a house of four and my bestie and I were thrown into a brand new situation.
It was awkward the first month, I won’t lie. We didn’t talk much and I had no idea what was going on in her life. We spent a lot of time in our separate rooms and there wasn’t even stuff to Snapchat each other about. Now that we were constantly together we had nothing to talk about.
On top of that, we were learning how the other one lives. She didn’t cook complicated meals or make big messes while I baked and cooked up a storm of dishes that I preferred to leave to soak in the sink overnight. She didn’t mind toothpaste splatters on the mirror or dust in the lights but I really preferred to have a clear reflection. There was a lot of tip-toeing around each other, especially on my end as I was the newbie in the house. Here were three smart and bold young women who had a year of inside jokes, drunken memories, and early morning adventures. How did I fit into that picture?
Finally I sat down with my therapist and vented about it all; the clean kitchen and messy bathroom and closed bedroom door and group chat lingo. It wasn’t even that I was mad or annoyed; I was lonely and hurt. How had the person I told everything to become a stranger?
“Have you told her any of this?” he asked me. I shook my head no. “Maybe, and this is crazy, but maybe she is feeling the exact same way. Wouldn’t it be funny if you both felt this way and were afraid of talking but talking about it would break this awkward silence?”
Yep, you guessed it, he was right. I sat down with her that night and told her what he said and she laughed and laughed. She had had the same conversation with her therapist and so now we sat in the somewhat cluttered kitchen laughing like we had our first year of college.
That one conversation is really all it took to find our way back to each other. We started making time to catch up after work and remembered the joy of sitting together in the same space doing our separate homework or reflection. We both still need our own space, but we always needed that. Now we know how to coexist as roommates but still laugh like friends.