I hate chocolate. No, seriously, I hate it. Let that sink in. Chocolate bars, chocolate milk, brownies, chocolate chip cookies… I can’t stand any of it. Take any non-chocolate dessert, and I’ll go for it in a second. Now add chocolate to it. Boom—the quality of whatever dessert you thought of just went down in my eyes. Good ol’ chocolate: The Food Ruiner. Side note: I also hate confrontation.
With that background on me, let’s talk about what went down with my very first roommate.
These days I only talk about the bad parts, but I never really tell everyone about how great things started out. And they were great, when we weren’t at each other’s throats. My roommate and I had the freaking best relationship. Between the occasional arguing about whose hair had clogged the shower drain and passive-aggressively leaving notes about making too much noise, we had a great time. We went out together, shopped together, ate together and stayed up all night watching old Disney movies together. We even cried on each other’s shoulders a time or three. I thought of her as my friend. When it all fell apart and I moved out, I didn’t just walk out on a crazy situation with a roommate. I also left behind a friendship.
“I’ll have a Veggie Haystack and a mimosa,“ my roomate said. “And I’ll have the Wings on Woodward and some lemonade,” I said. We were at Madison Social, a popular restaurant just off campus. While my roommate had just started up a phase of vegetarianism, I had no problem knocking out a few wings. I could see her grimace as I ordered, but she kept her feelings in check—this lunch was her way of extending an olive branch after all. We’d just gotten finished screaming at each other in the parking lot of a Publix grocery store over (of all things) the best way to communicate when one of us felt angry at the other. We never actually came to a compromise on that, but she offered to hang out at Madison Social afterward to apologize. Or, at least I thought so.
While we sat across from each other eating, the awkward silence got real. Did she think I would apologize? After we attempted a few stabs at conversation and we both realized that neither of us would apologize, we just did what we always did. We acted like nothing happened—like we hadn’t both raged at each other a few hours ago—until we loosened up and the conversation didn’t feel so forced. As frustrated as I still felt, I didn’t want to end up bringing the argument down on us a second time. She’d just start crying again, and then what?
A few minutes after we both finished, she started raving about this perfect ooey-gooey delicious chocolate chip cookie that they served with a scoop of ice cream. Maybe she’d started a diet or something because when I urged her to get it, she said she would, “but only if we can split it.” Here we go. I could have sworn we’d had the conversation before, but I told her anyway that I didn’t want it because chocolate made me want to gag. “Ah come on… You only have to get half,” she whined. Yeah, half of something I didn’t even want.
I repeated myself and she went on, “Who doesn’t like chocolate? Why are you being so difficult?” And was it just me or did she sound just a little too annoyed? “Just. Share. The. Cookie. With. Me,” she said slowly. Okay, so I hadn’t imagined the annoyance. And at that, I could feel the tension rising right back up inside me from before we started this lunch. She did this often. Taking a small thing that didn’t really matter and making me feel like an idiot for not agreeing with her.
“Okay go ahead get the cookie,” I said with a sigh. I just wanted to leave now, but whether she noticed that or not she cheerily told the waiter we’d have a stupid, “Cast Iron Cookie, please. With two spoons.” For the next few minutes while they made the cookie we fell back into the awkward silence from before. And, finally, the waiter came back with a piping hot cookie in a small cast iron skillet, the two spoons leaning on the side. My roommate stared at me as if to say, Well, what are you waiting for? She took a spoon and dipped it into the ice cream. I took a spoon, determined not to show how peeved I felt, scooped up a piece of the cookie and burnt my tongue on the gosh darn spoon.
&$%@&*#! 18-year-old me felt pissed. The whole semester she and I had gone back and forth in this weird dynamic of best friends and forced civility, and I just wanted out. As ridiculous as it seems, the cookie did it for me. My roommate stared at me, waiting for me to explode, but I’d gone past that. I thought of all our arguments and times I’d just let things slide or given into her crying fits. I put the spoon down slowly and asked her if she was finished and we left shortly after that.
This all happened a few weeks before the end of the semester, and I decided to move off campus after that. I never saw her again, but the experience has stuck with me vividly to this day. When your relationship with a roommate gets so bad that a cookie sends you over the edge, some big changes need to take place.