I met him one afternoon in the rain. I was staying with a friend, but she was moving, so I would have to find another place. She said she'd help with that, and she did. She introduced us.
He was lonely, I could tell by just looking at him. His demeanor showed a guy who'd been through some hard times, and way deep down inside, he was crying out for help. I agreed to be his roommate.
The apartment was sparse. Just basic necessities. A few kitchen utensils, one stained coffee mug... There was an old beat up couch and one chair in the living room with the small TV. Nothing on the walls. But the place was kept pretty clean and comfortable enough. It was quiet there. Very quiet.
And he was very quiet too, but because of our living arrangement, eventually he began to open up to me. He told me about his wife whom he hadn't seen in over a year. How they'd been happy at first and shared some good times. But then came his first tour in the war, followed by two more. He'd seen too much, and by the time he was discharged on disability, he'd changed.
He didn't like going out, he told me. People and noisy crowds made him anxious. He just wanted to stay in, and his wife was good to him, but she grew restless. She started going out and pursuing her interests with others. One day, she just didn't come home.
From these chats, I came to feel very protective of him. He was a good man, but fragile. He told me that he'd decided to take in a roommate after discussing it with his therapist. He'd seen others in the apartment complex doing things and being out and about, but he didn't feel like he fit in with them. Maybe bringing a roomie in would help him get over his anxieties and join in with the others.
The therapist thought it was a good idea, so he looked into it. Turns out his brother had a friend who knew my friend that I was staying with before she moved. And there we were.
And we tried, we did.
The two of us would leave the apartment and try to mix in with the others. I wanted to make new friends too, but at the same time, I had these overpowering protective instincts. I would lash out at anyone who got too close. Ironically, my man would end up being the one having to calm me down.
The others began to avoid us, going out of their way to not cross our path. It was obvious. I felt awful, but my defenses seemed to have a mind of their own.
There was this one couple, though. They'd come around every once in a while when we were outside. The woman seemed friendly enough, and her companion, while a bit mental, had this endearing, harmless cluelessness about her.
Still, I could only take them for so long before I was going all rage on them, and they would abruptly leave. This made my man sad, I could tell. What was wrong with me? I can't remember how I got this way.
Yeah, there's this guy who lives in the apartment complex China and I stroll by. He's got this dog - nice looking dog, but geez - needs to lose the Cujo style