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The Roommate

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“I think we need to discuss the state of the apartment.” Horatio cleared his throat and glanced around the apartment. The two bedroom afforded them far more space than any dorm would have, but sharing with a stranger who didn’t share Horatio’s policies on cleanliness was making it feel more cramped than a supply closet. Horatio’s room was organized and comfortable. Everything made sense. He lived in a way where everything had a place. Back at home, keeping things clean was his job. Mom was too busy with work and his younger siblings were just too little to do it. Horatio took pride in keeping things tidy then, and preferred to live that way now. His roommate though, obviously did not share these ideals.In their first week of living together, his roommate had managed to cover 70% of the apartment in unpacked shit, laundry, paper and empty food packages, without providing a single thing to make their apartment a home. Did this man even own a laundry basket of his own? Did he not see that the microwave needed a cleaning after so many cups of ramen had overflowed inside of it?

Horatio had tried to discreetly ask him to clean up, but his roommate couldn’t seem to take a hint. The only way to go was with direct language. Perhaps now wasn’t the best time, because Ham..Hamil? Ham-something, was packing a bag and attempting to rush off, but Sunday was their last chance to get the place into shape. Ham-something rushed through their apartment, stopping in the living room to search in between the couch cushions.

“What is there to discuss?” He paused to push his charger into the messenger bag that was already overflowing.  “Just text me later, I have to go.”

“No.” Horatio snapped, which caused Ham-something to look up at him with surprised doe eyes, there might have even been a little fear mixed in as well. He didn’t mean to scare him or ruin their relationship, he just couldn’t deal with the unclean apartment. Ham-something was going to have to start keeping things clean and contribute if they were ever to have a nice home and a successful relationship. .But he hadn’t meant to come on so strong.  There was a beat of silence before Horatio took a deep breath and continued with an apologetic attitude. “Look, Ham…”

“Hamlet.”

      Ah, Ham let. That made more sense than Ham-something. .

“Hamlet. I get that you’re a… you’re okay with the laundry and the trash. But I’m not, seriously, it bothers me to come home to this. And I’d really rather talk about it now and get it done with. Tackle the mess head on.”

“Yeah uhm, I’ll move my stuff later. Sorry it’s in the living room.”

And the entire shared living space.  Horatio amended to himself, then took a careful look at Hamlet. He had replied quickly, taking a step back. He looked red and uncomfortable. Horatio hadn’t meant to upset him, especially not so fast. His reaction to confrontation was less than ideal. Again, Horatio tried to fix his misstep, while holding on to his message.

“Well, I just need it to stay at least a little clean is all. I can help, maybe when you get back from wherever we can unpack. I’m an excellent organizer and I don’t mind, really.”

Rather than the reassurance he’d hoped to deliver, he felt Hamlet’s mood shift from slightly anxious to sour.

     “I’m not organized.”

          “I’ll help.” Please let me help. “ We can go shopping later, if you want. You know, unpack everything and then get some bins an-”

       Hamlet cut him off abruptly. “I’m not a child, I don’t need your help. I’ll clean if it’s that important to you.”

He added a pencil to the overfilled bag and exited with an air of petulant finality.

    It did not look like the apartment would be clean by monday. In fact, it looked like one of them was going to have to move.