Byline: Johnna Ossie, News Editor
I’ve lived with at least one roommate, but usually at least three, since I moved out of my parents’ house eight years ago. First, at eighteen, I lived in an unfinished bungalow in Hawaii with four roommates, a kitten and an untrained dog. When I moved back to Maine, I moved into a ramshackle house with twelve roommates, two dogs, one kitten and a lot of transient musicians who would fall asleep on the living room floor. Next, I moved into a studio apartment with my partner where we shared our home with two cats and a puppy. Later, I moved into my friend’s attic, where I had to sneak through her room and into her closet to get up the stairs to my room. This house I shared with three roommates, a kitten, a dog, and a freezer full of placentas because one of my roommates was a midwife. It’s gone on like this for years and years, and while generally I love living among these quirky, tender humans, the time came this month, at age almost twenty-six, when I decided it was time to take the plunge into…a one bedroom apartment.
After a few weeks of casually looking on Craigslist at places I could never afford (a task my best friend refers to as Craigslist porn), I very suddenly discovered a place I could afford, signed a lease, and found myself standing in the middle of my very own empty living room. The sound of the radio playing WMPG’s Fat Tuesday all day zydeco music was echoing of the empty walls of my new home as I stood solo in the middle of the room, surveying. That’s when I realized I actually own nothing to fill an apartment. My possessions have been cultivated over the years to be moved from bedroom to bedroom. Everything I own fits in the back of a pick-up truck and can be moved in several hours. I don’t own silverware, a toilet plunger or a dining room table. I don’t even own a broom. How on earth do I live alone?
Beyond my lack of physical belongings, the amount of time I’ve spent sleeping alone in a place is slim to none. I’m used to the sounds of other people opening and closing doors, cooking midnight risotto or giggling in the room next door. Alone in my apartment, I could hear only the footsteps of my upstairs neighbors. The silence was creeping me out.
Despite my reservations, here I am- and the step feels important and exciting. I know that the only mess I’ll have to clean up is mine. The only person to blame for dishes in the sink and the bathroom going uncleaned will be me. The only person to blame for the electricity shut off notice that comes will be me. This is certain responsibility that I’ve yet to take on, and that feels scary but grounding.
So, even though I’m nervous, and even though all I currently have to fill a living room is a chair and a coffee table, I feel like I’m moving one step closer to a new version of “adulthood.” A version in which the only person who is going to be stumbling in and making too much noise at 2 a.m. will be me, and the only person to blame for the mess in the morning will be yours truly.