It was an enormous, three-storey Regency House. I climbed the steps and took a deep breath at the heavy black door. I could see the sea, I could smell the sea. This was it, my ticket out of those awful lodgings. It had been the worst way to start University life, but I’d had no choice, as there was no accommodation available.
I knocked on the door and a smiley girl with long blonde hair and a cockney accent opened the door. I explained who I was and why I was there and she hollered up the stairs.
“Kirsty, the girl’s here about your room”
My stomach was flipping wildly, I was so nervous. I was going to be living with these people, whether I liked it or not. Six weeks I’d waited, hassling the housing office and finally they had come up with something. I wanted to be on campus and have a room of my own, they were offering off-campus and a shared room but if I didn’t take it I would go to the bottom of the list, so I was taking it.
She came down the stairs. She was wearing pyjama bottoms and a baggy sweatshirt and glasses. She stopped halfway down the stairs and told me the room was on the second floor. She looked formidable, slightly scary. My stomach flipped even more.
As I walked past the kitchen I was aware of four pairs of eyes watching me, trying to get a look at the new girl. I smiled weakly and rushed upstairs.
As we entered the fairly small room she flung herself on the unmade bed and slumped against the wall, unenthusiastically. I sat nervously on the unused one.
“So, who did you have as a room-mate before”
“No-one, it should have been someone called Olga Petrova but she never showed up so I’ve had a shared room to myself for the last six weeks.”
The conversation continued like this for the next ten minutes. I was trying to make conversation, she was fairly frosty. There were empty glasses stacked up and clothes thrown on the floor. I got the distinct impression that she was trying to put me off. She was. She played her trump card, her last ditch effort to have me scurrying back to the housing office, as it was pretty clear to her that I was desperate to get out of my digs and move in.
“Well” she snapped ” I smoke!”
“Brilliant” I said “So do I”
“Look” I said ” I hate where I’m living and can’t wait to get out. I’m moving in next Saturday, see you then”
She knew she was beaten. She had made her best attempt to put me off and it had failed. She was going to have to get used to sharing the room that she’d had to herself for the last few weeks.
“OK” she sighed “See you then”
It’s not often that you can vividly remember where and when you met someone but the day I met my best friend is imprinted on my brain forever. Within a week of my moving in we were getting on brilliantly. We shared a room for the rest of the year and flats and houses for the rest of University. We spent that first year dancing and singing in our room to old soul tunes, spending our student loans on clothes, smoking, drinking G & T’s, making brilliant ‘home from the pub snacks’, hanging out with lots of French guys and laughing until we fell on the floor and couldn’t breath properly. (and I may have done a fair amount of falling over too)
Seventeen years later and we live on other sides of the country but we still do some of the above. I’m just not going to tell you which ones.
This post is part of Sleep is for the Weak’s Writing Workshop. I chose prompt #5 Recount the story of a meeting or a parting, a saying hello for the first time, or a saying good bye.