Everyone who’s gone through college has a roommate story, except usually not until at least a semester in. I already have three, and it’s been two weeks since school started.
My roommate, who is also named Nicole—recycled joke, but I bet the people in charge of assigning roommates got a kick out of perpetuating my identity crisis—is home for Labor Day Weekend, so it feels a bit underhanded to post about her while she’s gone. Or maybe I’m posting now precisely because she’s not around to stop me.
But really, though, after what happened, I think she owes me this much.
It’s not like I hate my roommate. Actually, I lucked out on Nicole—she’s great and I love her. But sometimes the people you love can forget things. Sometimes the people you love can forget about you. Sometimes, the people you love can go MIA, catapult you into a scene straight out of Criminal Minds, and, in general, make you wish you never rediscovered your capacity to care for others. Generally.
Thursday night was our honors program’s convocation. After it concluded, around 10PM, we went our separate ways: she and another group walked a girl back to her dorm across campus, and I went with a different friend back to our dorm.
10:30 PM, I got a text from Nicole letting me know that she was safe, just eating ice cream in another residence hall after having walked the girl back. This residence hall is a three-minute walk from our dorm, for reference.
I was wondering if you died, I texted at 10:43, are you on your way back?
I then started to work on Jazz Appreciation Deep Listening sets (it’s as intense as it sounds). Plugging my speakers in, I turned up the volume until I could make out the bass line, which can be hard to hear otherwise.
One hour later, she still hadn’t returned, and I unlocked my phone to find that it had been muted this entire time and that Nicole had responded in the affirmative to my 10:43 text the moment after I’d sent it.
Yeah 🙂 – 10:43, her
Hey where are you – 11:47, me
NICOLE – 11:52
COME BACK IT’S LATE – 11:52
I was already looking up when and how to file a missing person report by the time midnight rolled around. I figured Nicole was probably okay, but this situation was beginning to parallel that of last year’s (Haruka Weiser, a student on my campus, called her roommate after leaving a night class and never made it back to her dorm. Her body was found the next morning in a creek), and I didn’t want to be too late.
About ten minutes after I texted my hall’s RA (resident assistant) and left a message with whoever was in his room, he showed up at my door and I relayed the situation to him. Nicole still hadn’t texted me back or returned my numerous calls.
“I feel like she’s okay,” he said, “but I don’t want to ignore it.” I nodded, stalking Nicole’s best friend’s Facebook page. I’d Facebook messaged her for Nicole’s whereabouts but hadn’t expected a response. (Lots of people aren’t active on Messenger.) Spelling out this friend’s name to my RA, I waited as he called the front desk of the friend’s dorm. They sent someone to check in her room.
After that, we could only wait.
Are you ok- 12:32, my RA
Oh yeah – 12:32, me
I feel like I should’ve noticed earlier though – 12:33
Because what if something had happened to Nicole while I was focused on appreciating jazz? Bebop seemed to me like a miserable cause to die for. (I mean, think about it. Death by Bebop.)
I was thinking to myself about how being able to distinguish between jazz forms really didn’t matter much when you were dead–or when you were alive, for that matter–when Nicole’s friend responded.
She’s at the lobby her phone died. – 12:42
… The lobby. As in, the lobby of my dorm. As in, five floors below me, the entire time.
When she comes up, I texted my RA, after informing him of this new development, I’m going to kill her. Metaphorically.
Omg she is here laughing with [her friend] – 12:50
Sighing, I went to the community bathroom to brush my teeth. By the time I emerged, the whole gang—my RA, Nicole, and her friend—were in front of my door. We made eye contact. Nicole and her friend burst into laughter. My RA pulled out his camera and started filming.
“I hate you so much,” I said as I walked forward in my Fruit Loop pajama shorts and flip flops, ruing the day I ever showed concern for another person’s well-being. When Nicole, still in the throes of hysterical laughter, tried to hug me, I glared. “Get away from me.”
She cornered me into the wall.
Like my page on Facebook! I try to post on Sundays, and some of the time, as in not today, I succeed.