28 December 2023

This morning I woke up, with a bladder half full, to movement in the adjacent room. I couldn’t figure out which one was the culprit so I shuffled out of bed, towards the bathroom. As rolled myself back into the folds of my comforter, I remembered “Oh that’s right, they’re going to Boston today. No wonder they’re up at 5AM.” and that made me want to give a hug. I lay in bed uneasy, uncertain, should I leave them be? But then I remembered how I hugged my mother before she left for Taiwan, some two weeks ago. I hugged her in case of that slim chance of catastrophe. So I know our last memory will be one I can cherish.

I heard someone walk to the kitchen, so I shuffled out of bed again and waited in the doorway.

”Oh, I’m sorry, did we wake you up?” Allison asked in her polite voice.

”No, No, it’s alright”, I responded sleepily. “Where’s Kodai?”

She went in the room and called him. He opened the door shirtless. I wasn’t sure if I should hug him but I went for it anyways. It wasn’t a strong hug, I doubt he’s not used to it. Last time I asked for a hug at the San Jose Airport he turned me down. (Mitsuru gave me a solid hug in Hueco Tanks though.) I gave Allison a hug too then shuffled back into my room.

It felt a bit forced to give Kodai a hug. He’s probably not a huger. Most of my guy friends aren’t. But then again, I was going to miss him and I want that last memory to be a nice one (if his plane happens to fall out of the sky or something statistically more likely).

Roommates live in a gray area, a limbo, between family and friends. Unlike family, we get to choose our roommates, but unlike friends, we live together like a family. I’ve had roommates a few times in my life.

In college I lived with five guys in a two bedroom apartment. We didn’t share much because we were poor and no one wanted to calculate the cost of sharing (even though it was likely cheaper). We tolerated each other, but early morning classes and a non-existent chore schedule built up internal resentment that would occasionally bubble over in passive aggressiveness or shouting “SHUT UP” at 1AM when I couldn’t sleep. We didn’t have a living room or a dining table, that space was used for desks. Without a common area, we had no where to hang out together, and so we didn’t. Instead we drifted apart. It wasn’t a home because we didn’t have the time or money to build it as a home and so we never became a family.

Now, I have my pretend family and a good system going on at home. We share pots and pans, cups and bowls, a record player and a Nintendo Switch, along with a communal bong and a 50lb bag of rice. We do chores together, have meals together (at our dining table), watch TV together (in our living room), go grocery shopping together. I still have to deal with their little annoyances, like how I sometimes re-wash dishes so they’re clean to my standard, and they have to deal with my annoyances too. But we tolerate each other, like a family, we know we have to live together, at least for this year, and a loving environment beats the ugly shouting arena I grew up in. Sometimes it feels like this could last forever, but our family has a legally binding expiration date.

So for now, I love you.