They move in together one raining day, the last Saturday of August, right after they are given the keys. The weather broadcast didn’t mention anything about precipitations, yet a summer storm breaks out and drenches their clothes and themselves to the bones. “Rain on a moving day is good luck,” Hangyul guarantees like if he were an old wise man instead of a junior college student.
A little bit hesitating, Seungwoo seconds his words as he stares at the card boxes that will no longer see better days nor be useful. Seungyoun just nods, the eternal optimistic. Or with faked optimism, maybe. There is no keypad locks but a bunch of keys that one of them will for sure lose in the future, two small rooms and an even smaller bathroom, chipped painting and no elevator. And they are three people about to live together in the fifth floor.
It certainly wasn’t good luck what they had when they decided to rent the place, but it’s the best they can afford between their tight budgets.
“Yeah, I can picture this place becoming cozy,” Seungyoun says once they finish moving all their things upstairs. He shakes his head to dry off his hair, big drops of liquid fortune splashing the floor. “We could get a good sofa and a pet, maybe. I’ve always wanted a dog.”
“What dog if you’re already one,” Hangyul teases.
“People say I look like a Shiba Inu. I always wanted one,” Seungyoun comments.
Seungwoo reminds them that dogs aren’t allowed in the building and Seungyoun shrugs. It’s okay, people say he’s like a monkey too. Just a snort and an off-handed snicker from Hangyul is all it takes to launch into a weird battle of animal noises. Seungyoun acts like a monkey, Hangyul retaliates with roars like a tiger and then trumpets like an elephant. Seungwoo joins them later, croaking as a weird giant frog. They play around the apartment, hopping and padding into every room like animals, knowing the place, marking their territory.
A few moments go by like this, like naïve wildlife, until the neighbour hits the wall and threatens to shut the damn zoo down if they don’t stop. They screams rushed words of apologize back and awkwardly look at each other before breaking into a laughing fit.
“Come one, let’s unpack,” Seungwoo says as he nods towards the cardboard boxes they’d left scattered all over the floor, from the entrance door to the opposite side of the room. Rain patters against the smudged and tainted glass of the big window in the wall, as wide as their hopes, as they set their things together.
When they set rules, they unconsciously divide their everyday tasks. Hangyul would be in charge of most chores, especially cooking, given that he’s the only confident enough in making edible food. Seungyoun would be the one in charge of decorations and dishes and cleaning in general given that he has a good aesthetical taste, but mainly because most of their stuff were brought by him. And Seungwoo would be in charge of the taxes, splitting the bills and administration in general given that he is the only one who graduated and with a title in Economy even.
They are sure they’ll break them within a week. But they’re also sure they’ll figure out. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“Just refill the toilet paper rolls and we’ll all be okay,” Hangyul says.
They buy cheap beer from the convenience store of the corner and make a toast. To the crappy villa apartment. To their new home.
Seungyoun brings home a cactus one day. He says it’s a gift from Nathan, his friend and co-worker, as a home-warming present. A home-warming party they never did because they don’t have enough chairs or glasses or even time to clean the place. (That’s a blatant lie: the rooms are small and bare enough to clean in a less than two hours, but they don’t want to.) And their neighbour is a bitch.
The cactus is small, bulbous and not really as green as Hangyul pictured for a house plant. He looks at it with an eyebrow raised and bad hidden disgust.
“I called it Shiba Inu,” Seungyoun announces and Hangyul screeches a “that’s supposed to be our pet?”
Seungwoo finds it endearing. Charming even with its little thorns looking like painful fluffy hairs.
Unsure of how much sunlight it needs, they place it in the windowsill. The afternoon sun casts golden hues in its spikes and creates large shadows on the floor.
They met in college. The three of them belonged to the Business department, yet started in different years. Seungwoo was already a senior about to begin his thesis when Hangyul was a freshman crashing right into sophomore Seungyoun in the hallways. And yet the three of them clicked well during the homecoming party, enough to become friends over the next years.
Even when Seungwoo finished his thesis, graduated and got a nice slave contract in a well-known company that pay a lot of money to their advertisers but not to their employees, so he couldn’t afford to live alone in any of the overpriced apartments near the company.
Even when Hangyul lost his spot in the campus dorm after he changed majors to become a Social worker like his mom, so he started taking jobs as a backup dancer to help his parents with the expenses, because college is fucking expensive and so is the medicine his dad needs for his diabetes.
Even when Seungyoun, the only rich one out of the three, decided to drop out of college and pursuit a career as a music producer instead of taking the reins of his family’s business, so he was kicked out of his house until he make his mind clear, not that it’ll happen in a near future given that Seungyoun is as stubborn as a mule and good at what he does and despises everything Business-related with all his soul.
They met in college and they are friends, close friends, and they decided to live together because it was fitting—the three needed a place, a cheap one especially. And because there is something that pulls them together.