She keeps the cabinet stocked with the cereal he likes, by way of tempting him to spend more time at her place. It works. By their second summer together he has more or less moved in.

Her roommate has a habit of labeling everybody’s food with a sharpie and this makes him want to eat her cereal and drink her soy milk out of defiance.

 
Photo By Saeah Lee

One summer afternoon, a cat comes in through an open window. The cat is badly cut up from fighting with the other strays in the neighborhood. They name him Shark Week because that’s what the boy, the girl, and the girl’s roommate had been watching when the cat came in. Later, they all find fleabites around their ankles and somehow this is the boy’s fault.

The girl is studying business administration. Her roommate is pre-med. The boy is undeclared and rudderless though he reads two books a week in his spare time. The girl hopes he will get serious about something. The boy hopes to find something worth getting serious about.

The boy gets drunk. The girl gets drunk. They argue and the boy throws a midnight bowl of cereal at the wall.

The boy helps assemble a chair and bookcase from Ikea and all is forgiven.

The issue of paying the bills comes up, considering there are now three of them living there. The boy and the girl have no student loans or financial aid. The girl’s roommate does. For the girl, paying her way is about feeling like an adult. For the girl’s roommate it’s a matter of necessity. The boy can see her point about the bills but there’s a pedestrianism to the conversation he doesn’t want to be bothered with, so he leaves for a rare night at his own place.

To contribute, he pays for better coffee than they would buy otherwise. And he puts down the deposit on a keg for their St. Patrick’s Day party.

When the boy is packing his things for good, the girl gives him his cereal to keep. A desperate part of her hopes the cereal will remind him of all they had and all she did for him. Looking back one day, she will see that the whole headache started with his favorite cereal.

Valencia, 2017

Originally posted on Medium

Written by Charlie