December 08, 2002
Roommate #3

Funny how often your story doesn't belong to you.

A week ago, my closet-case roommate - I'll call him Roommate#3 - made a pass at me while his girlfriend was in the front hall taking off her boots. He glimpsed at her, glimpsed at me where I lay on the couch, gave me this weird look I couldn't interpret, then pounced. He lay right across me and looked into my eyes and I redirected his gaze toward my forearm, which was perched below his chin. I said "What's this?" and he got off me, looked bashful, said "I don't know," then suddenly seemed too drunk to stand upright.

We had only known each other for a month, only talked about three times during that month, and now everything was different. I knew he was a closet-case, and he knew I wasn't. I wondered about it. I wanted to write about it. I wanted to write about how my other roommates - Roommates # 1 & 2 - both of whom I've known for half my life - looked at me when I told them what happened. There was something about the lethargy of my response they found amusing, and I wondered if I could capture it for a laugh. But I also wondered what might happen a few months from now, if his girlfriend read some exploit in my archives about her gay boyfriend putting the moves on me while she was in the next room. I wondered if he might not eventually feel he was "outed", and if I might not come to regret the impulse.

Then yesterday he came to my door for the first time since it happened, looking shaken. "Uhh, Cat might be dead," he said. I couldn't believe my ears.

I ran downstairs and sure enough there was Cat, eyes open, warm to the touch, yet completely unresponsive. He was only four years old.

Later we learned there was nothing that could have been done about it-- it had happened quickly, a defect of the heart. At the time though, my Emergency-Response-Unit impulse kicked in and this flurry of activity ensued: I phoned Roommate #2 who was building models at U of T and we arranged to meet at the vet's. I called a cab, found a box, brushed my teeth, came downstairs. Turns out Roommate #3 and his girlfriend are coming along with me and Roommate#1-- meaning four to a cab. I find myself thinking about the seating arrangement.

At the moment the taxi arrives, naturally Roommate # 1 is in the bathroom, and Roommate #3's girlfriend is still readying herself upstairs, so it's just me and closet-case crossing Dovercourt together. He opens the back door, climbs inside and says "Pass him to me" and I say, "I think there might be more room if I just sit up front."

He says, "You mean you don't want to sit back here with me?" and I think: No, I don't want to sit back there with you-- there is a dead cat in a box that we are taking to his owner-- stop trying to rub legs with me.

Then I realized I don't care if it is exploitative-- I'm just taking it; I'm taking it all and calling it mine.

Posted by at December 08, 2002 06:51 PM
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