The Roommate | Teen Ink

The Roommate

March 9, 2009
By Cheryl Liu BRONZE, Pittsford, New York
Cheryl Liu BRONZE, Pittsford, New York
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It wasn’t as if anyone had gotten hurt. They keep insisting that someone did; well then, that someone is me. I’m the one stuck here. Everybody else was let off free. All three of them. Free. No penalty. It isn’t fair. It’s pretty obvious I don’t belong here. Everything about me is wrong for this place. My name is Anna Currant, such a plain, innocent name. No one with that name is capable of being what everyone accuses me of being. My family history doesn’t give me away either: my father is a boring tax attorney, my mother: a receptionist at a dental office, my older brother Steve: a junior at Boston College.
I grew up in Cambridge, Massachusetts in a wealthy community, attended a private school, and went to church on Sunday. I sang in the church choir, volunteered at the nursing home just ten minutes away from my house, and played the piano. I was a pretty good piano player. They tell me I am still am and encourage me to play more. I’m not so sure. I used to play so fluidly, the notes would just come out on their own and create a perfect balance between melody and harmony, but now the notes are forced, sharps take the place of flats, and flats the place of naturals making it sound really bad. I also used to attend beauty pageants. I won first place when I was sixteen. I wonder what those other girls would think of me if they knew where I live now. Their small minds probably couldn’t even fathom such a shocking thought. The idea that one of them is now a what? Staying where? Oh. My. God. No way!
Yeah, it’s okay; I can make fun of them now that I’m no longer a pageant queen. Now I belong to a clan of rejects. They all have the same dirty, stringy hair, the empty pale eyes, the cracked, chapped lips, the hoarse voice ruined from chain smoking, the minds corrupted by who knows what. Drugs maybe, bad experiences possibly, life definitely.
“Girls, this is Anna Currant.”
Blank stares. I manage to give a small smile and a wave. One of them raises an eyebrow at my normal gesture.
“Anna is new here so I want you all to help her around and make her feel welcome.” It’s funny how they try to sugarcoat things to make it seem normal, almost like I was a new student attending a new school. But that wasn’t nearly as bad as meeting my “roommate.”
“Alice, this is Anna. She’s going to be staying with you for a while.”
I came face to face to a surprisingly pretty girl. She still had the same stringy hair and cracked lips, but her azure eyes were different, not as empty as those of the others. The matron then left. I started to unpack my stuff out of my duffel when Alice first spoke.
“Hey, you got a light?”
“No, I uh, I don’t smoke.”
“Yeah, you didn’t really look like the type.” She came to shake my hand. Her hand was so cold, like an ice cube. I noticed that it was shaking a little and she noticed too. She abruptly draws her hand away.
“So what are you here for anyway? You look different than the other girls here.”
Thank you, finally someone realizes this. I want to tell her that of course I don’t look like anyone here. I’m normal for chrissake! But I don’t.
“Um, I’m not really sure. I mean I don’t really think I did anything.”
“Fine, I get it. You’re the secretive type. But don’t worry, I’ll get it out of you eventually.”
“No, really. You don’t understand. I didn’t do anything.” Why doesn’t anyone believe me?
“I bet I could guess why you’re here.”
She proceeded to walk very uncomfortably close around me in circles, surveying me like a hawk does its prey.
“You don’t look like the type would hurt someone else. You didn’t kill anyone, did you?”
I shook my head no.
“Well then you must have hurt yourself. Let me see your wrists.”
I show her my wrists. She squints at the smooth peach flesh.
“What, did you OD on something? Did they have to pump your stomach?”
“No, look you’re getting the wrong idea. I haven’t attempted to kill myself or anyone else.”
“Oh I know! You use!”
“Use what?!”
“I don’t know, you tell me. Pot, coke, heroine, speed…”
“I thought we already established the fact that I don’t smoke. Why would I use drugs?”
“So you must deal then? Steal?”
“No! Can you just get off my case? I think it’s lunch time anyway.” God, I was so desperate to get away from her. Everyone was trying to label me like I was animal or something.
Unfortunately, lunch did not provide me any sort of comfort. In the small cafeteria, silent chaos was enduring. About one half of the girls stared straight at the washed out blank walls as if it were the only thing in the world. Some must have forgotten about the utensils placed on either side of them: they ate their macaroni and cheese with their hands. Some stared at their crusty macaroni as if it was the most interesting conversationalist they had ever met. But nothing was more unsettling than Alice’s constant stare.
Back in our room, Alice proceeded to ignore me all evening. She just sat at the window, smoking. How considerate of her to sit at a window that would not let any air in (or out) its ridiculously dense screen. It seemed like the screen would just push the smoke back with full force into the room, staining everything in its path with its distinct odor. Oh well, I guess I can’t really blame Alice; she didn’t have any other choice.
While in my cold bed that night, I woke up to some quiet music. I didn’t dare get up and wake Alice, so I stayed behind my covers trying to breathe evenly. As I continue to listen to it, I realize that it’s not music but instead some sort of chanting. I couldn’t make out the words though. All of a sudden, the chanting stops.
“Arhh!” Alice screams as she leaps into my bed.
“Ahh! Oh my God what are you doing??
“Aha! I knew you were awake! You disrupted my chanting.”
“Look Alice, I’m really sorry. I didn’t even know that you were the one making all the noise.”
“It’s not noise!” she screams.
“It is not noise,” she says again, calmly this time.
“Ok, I’m sorry alright? Just please, it’s three in the morning. We both should get some sleep.”
“I don’t sleep.”
“Come on Alice, everyone sleeps.” What was wrong with this girl?
“Well I don’t. Ever. Don’t talk to me.”
Over the next several months, I endured Alice’s weird habits and psychotic behavior. I didn’t complain about it to anyone: not the doctors, not the nurses, not to any of the other girls. Every night I would get a few hours of sleep. I tried to work around Alice’s schedule. I got into bed around nine and could usually sleep until two or three when Alice would chant. The sleeping arrangements were much easier to coordinate than the bathroom arrangements. Alice would sporadically go to the bathrooms for hours, not giving me any warning. I had to go down to the main hall everyday to use the bathroom. I still don’t know what Alice does in the bathroom. I’ve never heard the toilet flush or the shower run while waiting in our room. But when I did use our room bathroom, to shower or whatnot, I found that it was always clean, spotless. Maybe Alice was cleaning the bathroom? I don’t know, she is just too crazy.
Although Alice could resist basic human needs, she could not resist torturing me and finding out “what I did.” She hit pretty close to home one day.
“I know what you are. Finally”
“So what am I exactly?” Every time she comes up with a theory, she says these exact words. Sometimes the things she came up with were just so ridiculous, I laughed out loud when she wasn’t there.
“You’re anorexic. You hardly eat during meals and I see you pinching yourself in the stomach, seeing if you’ve gotten fatter. Freak.”
What? How did she, crazy Alice, know? There was absolutely no evidence. After coming here, I ate like a normal person. I even eat more than most of the girls here. I’ve gained fifteen pounds, at least. And even if I was anorexic, how dare she judge me like that? Calling me the freak? This was the last straw.
“Yes Alice, you’ve finally figured it out. Yeah I was anorexic when I came here, but I’m not now so kiss your little theory goodbye.” I proceeded to slam the door and literally stomped out of the room. I’m not like this usually, really I’m not. I’m the most normal person here. Why am I stuck with the craziest person in this building then? I needed a change.
“Oh Anna, what a pleasant surprise. What can I do for you?”
“Dr. Edwards, I was wondering if people can change their living arrangements here? You know, like change rooms or roommates?”
“Well yes, it’s definitely possible. But what’s wrong with your room dear? I thought you quite like your room.”
God, these people were so stupid sometimes.
“Yeah, it’s not the room that’s the problem. It’s just my roommate…”
“Oh? Do want to tell me about it?”
“It’s just that we have different schedules. She doesn’t sleep much at night so it’s a little annoying.” And, not to mention she’s a complete freak who drives me absolutely nuts.
“Oh I see. Who is roommate again?”
“Alice. Alice Hart.”
“Right. So does Alice do anything else that bothers you?”
“She’s kind of a bathroom hog as well. Please, I just want to move rooms.”
“Well if you’re that desperate. I’ll file a request for you and let you know alright?”
“Thank you, Dr. Edwards. Really, thanks a lot.”
“No problem. Everything should be fine, don’t worry.”
But everything was not fine. Not when I came back into the room.
“Where were you?” she hissed quietly from her window.
“Oh I just had my daily therapy.”
“Did you? How nice? What did you guys talk about?”
Her blue eyes shone in the dark and were focused directly on me.
“Oh you know just the same old stuff. They keep asking how am I am. You know how it is. Can we turn the lights on in here? It’s kind of dark”
“But of course, roomie. Why do you even ask?”
I silently go and switch on the lights. She’s sitting on her bed now.
“Come here, Anna. I want to tell you something.”
“Let’s just get something straight here. I was here first, so you abide to my rules, got it?”
I shook my head yes. How did she know what I did?
“You don’t know what I’m capable of. And you don’t want to know. But I’ll tell you you’d best not get in my way. I’ve killed before and I’m not afraid to do it again.”

Patient Report

Patient: Anna Currant

Date admitted: July 12, 2008


DOB: 1/31/1989

Height: 5’ 4”

Weight: 103 lbs.

Eye Color: Blue

Hair Color: Brown

Progress Analysis
Anna still adamantly denies that she was involved in the murder of three of her peers on the evening of July 6, 2008. Her anorexia is slowly subsiding as she has gained ten pounds since she was admitted. Unfortunately, it seems that a sort of dissociative identity disorder or multiple personality disorder has taken its place. Anna resides in the isolation ward, but constantly complains about her “crazy roommate” Alice. Anna describes Alice as overweight and psychotic. When asked to describe her physical appearance Anna responds that Alice has wavy brown hair and blue eyes. I have checked all the records of our patients and no such Alice exists. We will be relocating her to a new room and see if this “Alice” keeps troubling her.

Dr. Edwards

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This article has 2 comments.

ZoeR. GOLD said...
on Apr. 7 2009 at 12:31 am
ZoeR. GOLD, Redlands, California
16 articles 0 photos 19 comments
really really good. its raw and powerfull. nice work!

Stephenmcrey said...
on Apr. 6 2009 at 9:36 pm
That was good.

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