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  • Writer's pictureBenjamin Schilaty

A Home for Ben

When I moved back into my house last August one of the first things my roommate Rick asked me was when I'd be moving out.  This didn't make me think that he hates me, he just really wants his little brother to move in this Fall.  I initially tried to be friends with Rick, but despite living together for almost a year and half we aren't that close (like, we're not even Facebook friends).  He mostly just stays in his room and we occasionally run into each other in the kitchen.  He only ever starts a conversation with me when he wants to know when I'll be moving out.  Most of the conversations I start with him go like this, "Hey, could you take your clothes out of the dryer?  They've been in there for two days."  He's actually a super-nice guy, we just never clicked (Except when Sarah comes over.  We she comes over he'll talk to us for 40 minutes, but she's way pretty so...). 

Two weeks ago Rick again asked when I'd be moving out and then he asked again last week.  Feeling a little unwanted I decided to move out at the end of the semester.  I started going through all the leads I had of people looking for roommates.  Nothing.  Then I went to the housing board at the Institute and even emailed a stranger about living together.  No reply.  I had exhausted all the options I knew of.  And then Laura came to the rescue.

She forwarded me an email she'd received on the Peace Corps listserv about two retired women renting a room.  The email said that they were looking for an international tenant, preferably female.  Not being either of those things I wrote them an email expressing my interest in meeting them.  I strategically mentioned that I'm Mormon so they would know I not smoke, drink, or have raucous parties, but I also mentioned that I'm gay so they wouldn't think I'm some Glenn Beck loving conservative (I also assumed from the email that the two retired women were partners so I wanted to be like, "Hey, we're all gay here!").  It worked like a charm because they asked me over to meet them the next day even though I'm a tall, white, American male. 

I don't know if they'd like me posting their names online so I'll just call them A and B for now.  A has owned the house for 35 years and it feels so homey and welcoming.  I instantly wanted to live there.  Both A and B have graduate degrees in Education and are both retired teachers and that instantly made me want to live with them.  As I got acquainted with them they kept doing cute little things that old couples do.  For example, after A showed me a picture of her struggling musician son, B grabbed a plaque off of the bookshelf to show me.  A said, "Don't show him that!" and B said, "Why not?  It's wonderful."  It was a "Teacher of the Year" award that A received a few years ago.  B is very obviously proud of A and wanted to show off her accomplishment to me.  It was adorable. 

Talking with A was a lot like talking to my mom.  She'd start telling me something important about the house and then go off on a random tangent and I'd have to say, "Sorry, what were you saying about watering the plants?"  These ladies are awesome and I couldn't be more excited to live with them.  And then A told me how much the rent is and I nearly jumped in the air and clicked my heels for joy.  I'm not moving in until May, but I'm going to dinner with A next week so we can get to know each other better.  And their little house is perfect for me.  It's $75 cheaper than my current place, a mile closer to campus, and I'll have an adult size bed.  I'm super-excited.  This will be my third time living with retired people (fourth if you count my parents). 

This is kind of how my life works out.  I try my best to make the most sensible plans and then some completely random opportunity that I never envisioned pops up and it works out better than I could have imagine.  Like last semester when my Spanish teaching contract wasn't renewed and then I got a job as a TA for an art history class that pays me the same amount as my teaching job, but requires a lot less work.  And now I am randomly moving in with two retired lesbians and my life is turning into a foreign film again.  You know, the kind of movie where nothing really happens, but the setting is a little out of the ordinary and some young person sits around talking with old women while eating cake.  Yeah, that's what life is about to become.  

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