V stretched, yawned the umpteenth time and got into bed after a boring meal. She’d grown used to eating with her man, sleeping with him and waking up next to him. She did not know how much she’d gotten used to it until when she had to sleep alone. She was a little turned on after thinking about that sneaky Saturday. She drifted into thoughts of how much fun they had had together. V reached for her phone and texted him a simple hello. He took a while but later responded. They had a not so steady chat. V told him about her night out. He was excited for her. However, they could not talk for long as he was busy with something else, something crucial. V sent him a resigned I miss you then let him go.
She tried to get some sleep but there wasn’t any. She was lonely. She lay still in bed hoping she’d finally sleep. One hour later, she turned and readjusted the pillow. She was cold. She curled up inside the duvet and went still again. At least, she felt comfortable.
She’d been used to curling up next to him. They cuddled a lot. Sometimes he held her all night and she’d wake up warm. Sometimes she’d hold him from behind and spoon him. Sometimes she would crawl downwards and sleep between his thighs, her chick lying softly on his crotch. Sometimes she would pull up and place her head on his abdomen. She loved it. He enjoyed holding her. Sometimes she would pull away and create some distance just to have him roll her back into his arms. This was the second night they were going to spend apart. The first hadn’t been hard given she’d spent most of it in a club and the rest with Angela. Now she was alone. She wanted him. She wanted him to hold her. She wanted him to cuddle with her. She wanted him to call her baby. She missed him.
V remembered how it had all started. For her last semester in campus, she had decided she was going to live alone. She was tired of living with people. They were either annoying or she was. V loved her space and her boundaries. She hated it when anyone got involved in her business. She’d once had a roommate who made it her duty to find out V’s every move. When she left to be with her boyfriend, she would be quarreled for not coming back home on time or at all. She started to feel like she was 16 again and she was living with her mother, something she’d never experienced but imagined was tough. She hated it. She hated being cared for. For her that felt like a burden, like an intrusion of sorts. She hated being nagged about everything and being given lectures about responsibility. Why didn’t you at least tell me you weren’t coming back? Why didn’t you do the dishes? Why… why… why… she was fed up. She wanted to be able to be irresponsible yet peaceful. She wanted to be free to come and go like the adult she was. She wanted to be broke and not be bothered by it.
Some roommates had been obnoxious. They would get into her space and speak about her personal life like they were part of it. For V, a roommate was just that, a roommate. It took something special to be more than that. She liked mean roommates who minded their business and did their things disregarding her presence while at the same time respecting the boundaries, because that ridded her of the nagging feeling of owing. According to her, when someone cared, she had to care too, and she hated that. She wanted to care on her own volition, and not because she had to. V had walls around her, and she hated it when people probed into what she hid behind them.
V had then made up her mind that she would live alone. The thought excited her as much as it scared her. She had never lived alone all her life. She was eager to experience it. She moved over the December holidays to an affordable single room. She arranged the house, lined up her bags on the wall, did her bed, cleaned whatever she could, and by the time she was done, she loved it. Her house looked more girly than she’d expected. There was a lot of fuchsia and red, colors she loved. She went back home for the holiday but could hardly wait to start living on her own.
She’d had a blast over the holiday and she’d made herself beautiful pillows that she knew would work well with her duvet and sheets. She had pink checked sheets and a plain fuchsia duvet. She barely ever used blankets.
The holiday ended and she went back to school. She was excited about the new life in the new house. It was a beautiful house altogether, with clean pearl-white walls. The quality of the paint used was good. V knew a little something about paints. She’d worked with them during the attachment she’d attended at the end of her second year in campus. The floor was covered in a plastic carpet that worked well with everything else in the room. She lived on the ground floor of the apartment. The apartment was beautifully covered in grey and orange. It was way better than where she’d stayed during the previous semester. Sadly, V came to realize that there was poor network coverage. The house was a literal black hole. When she got there, she was completely cut off from the outside world. The only way she could make a call or go online was if she went outside or to the roof. At first, she considered this a small sacrifice and was ok with it. Her house was frosty as well; she had to be warm every time she was indoors. V wasn’t fond of clothes. Dressing up for the outdoors for her was more than enough. She spent every weekend at Ali’s. She would have a blast when she went there. Every Sunday she went back to her house she would be incredibly bored and lonely and cold. She started to spend more time at Ali’s. She loved the showers they had together in his spacious bathroom, and hated those she had at her own place in the tiny bathroom she had to share with countless strangers. Her sensitive skin crawled at the very thought of it. When they fought, she would go back to her house. He came over to her place a countable number of times. When she had assignments, she would do them from his house. She had his key and so she went there whenever.
Then she started to stay longer. She would go over on a Thursday and leave on a Tuesday. Soon, she realized she was rarely going to her own house. She loved spending time with him. She loved taking care of him. She cooked, she cleaned his house, she washed for him, she warmed his bed, and she felt good about herself. She’d surprised herself. V was the kind of girl that used to wonder why girls took care of men that were not their husbands. She’d been told before by feminists that when a man was taken care of before marriage, he would never pop the question. She’d sworn against it, till she’d met Ali. With him, she didn’t care. She loved him, and he loved her. It felt good. She considered the things she did small acts of appreciation. Besides, Ali had his ego: whether she had money or not, he never let her pay for anything in his presence. He loved to provide. They had a perfect arrangement. The first time, they spent two weeks together. V started to get paranoid so she looked for a fight and left. She was scared that she was being a burden. She had never done this before and so she had reservations.
However she realized that Ali too had gotten used to having her around. They were friends above everything and they had fun every time they spent time together. V moved back in with him for her last month of the semester, this time for good. They set one rule though, that they were not married. Of course, that was to make them both feel comfortable with the new arrangement. It worked perfectly for both of them. They had a blast that month.