chapter one - adulthood
Etta couldn’t feel better sitting in a public transport. She felt independent and finally free, why should she feel bad when her life is finally getting better? After an everlasting “fight” with her parents, they finally let her go. Father José and her mother Margaret are still very worried about their little girl growing up, they were always praised about how great parents they are. For Etta, not that great. She loves them, of course, but she didn’t feel very accepted by them growing up. But now, only thing she could think about was being alone, not having any big expectations for adulthood.
As Etta gets off the bus, the sun shines in her eyes and the warm wind hits her face. She walks on the sidewalk while looking up the address and location of her new apartment realizing, she missed the bus stop and that she was supposed to get off the bus earlier. That wasn’t a big surprise for her, she knew something would go wrong. The apartment isn’t that far away so she decided to walk there. The weather was great, warm enough to wear a dress or a skirt but not that hot to sweat all the time. All she could do is look around in total amazement. The neighborhood was beautiful, very nice houses and housing units, a lot of greenery too! While she was admiring the world around her, someone knocked her down into the grass next to the sidewalk. It was a girl in a sports bra and shorts running with headphones in her ears. Etta only heard a brief “Sorry !” before the running stranger was no longer in sight. She got up quickly, ready to walk into the apartment. Right before she moved, a finger tapped on her shoulder. Etta flinched and looked behind her, seeing at least 6’3 tall boy in a floral shirt.
“Are you okay? Can you walk? The fall seemed kind of hard,” said the tall boy.
“It’s okay, it didn’t hurt much!” she replied back with ease.
“Well, I’m glad. I’m Alec by the way! What’s your name?” friendly asked Alec.
“I’m Etta, I’m on my way to my new apartment.” Etta pointed at her suitcase and her bag, thinking that this stranger was too friendly.
Alec offered to help with the bags and they walked to Etta’s new home. These two talked like they already knew each other for years. Alec explained that he lives near and what kind of fun activities you can do in this neighborhood or where you can go for drink, a dinner or to hear local bands play. In a span of few minutes, they exchanged social media, phone numbers and decided to meet again this week.
“I could totally show you this neighborhood girl, I know every corner, every night club and the latest news.” Alec said while laughing a bit. He was very excited to see a new soul around here.
“I’d love that Alec! I’ll definitely text you when I’m free and ready to party.” Etta said giggling, at least she knows someone from here, even better that it’s someone who knows it well here!
By the time they talked, they barely realized they were in front of the building Etta was staying in. It only took 15 minutes to walk from the wrong bus stop here, it’d definitely take less if she got off on the right spot. Alec and Etta said their goodbyes and hugged. Not even in a minute, Etta was on her way up the stairs. The apartment is on the 3rd floor so it wasn’t that easy to get up with a suitcase and two bags. After Etta got up, she had to knock because she didn’t have the key yet. She knocked and knocked, waiting there at least 5 minutes and nothing. The bell wasn’t working so all she had to do is wait. When she started to get annoyed, she went for a hard knock and in the middle of it, the door opened.
In the door stood her roommate with annoyed face, towels on her body and hair. It took Etta a few seconds to realize that her new roommate was the girl, who ran into her and knocked her down. It looks like the roommate realized that as well and the moment she opened her mouth, Etta started talking.
“First of all, thank you for knocking me down, at least you could apologize properly, couldn’t you?” Etta said with a stoic face, while being angry inside. “Second of all, hey, yes, I am your new roommate, my name is Etta Francis, we’ve talked through e-mail, right?”
“Well, Etta,” said the girl annoyingly. “If you payed attention to the world and people around you, that wouldn’t have happened. I ran home because I’ve though my new roommate…you, would be here. ”
“I am so so sorry I knocked you down.” The girl said annoyingly, almost mocking Etta for wanting an apology. “I am Alicja Reeves and welcome to your new home.”
Alicja moved on quickly, almost forgetting they had a not-so-great meeting going on. She grabbed two of Etta’s bags and waited till she comes in. After closing and locking the door, she shows the apartment to her. As described, two-bedroom apartment with a living room/kitchen space going on and the bathroom which had a build-in bathtub. Etta was pleased, it could’ve been worse!
“This will be your room.” Alicja grabbed Etta’s hand slightly so she could move faster and opened the bedroom door. Her room was almost empty, except for a slightly queen bed, carpet on the floor, wardrobe and a big window. Alicja put her bags on the bed, waiting for Etta to say something.
“Well, I hope you like it. When you unpack please come to the living room so we can discuss the ground rules.” Alicja said while closing the bedroom door.
Etta sighed in relief, finally accepting the adulthood. She started unpacking her clothes, pictures, laptop and some other things she though were very important to pack. With a little bag full of her bathroom stuff, she went into the bathroom looking for a place to put them. After opening the mirror cabinet, she saw that the other half of the shelves were empty and put her skincare things there. After a total of 47 minutes of unpacking and at least 10 minutes of processing the thought of living in another town, she went to the living room space where she saw Alicja watching the television. For a second Etta thought how pretty Alicja was. A thought, ever a brief and small one, kind of startled her. Will she become who she is when her parents aren’t forcing a thought of a great husband on her? Etta shook her head in order to stop thinking such nonsense and sat next to Alicja, ready to hear the rules of living here.
“I’m finished.” Etta said surprisingly shyly if you think about how she went for Alicja’s neck in the start.
“Okay, I think we can start!” Alicja proceeds to turn of the TV while grabbing a paper and a pen. “Here are the rules that weren’t written in the mail.”
Etta started to listen and watch her roommate’s hand, which was writing the first rule that was “No loud music after 10 PM” which was understandable. Second one was “Mark your food in the fridge, we share unmarked food”. These rules continued in the spirit of “No animals” or “We do chores together every other day or we do chores separately every day”.
“What’s the last one?” Etta asked thinking it’ll be something about bathroom again or watching the television but it quite surprised her.
“Do not try to be friends with the girls you see in the morning,” said Alicja. “Also, every other day you may hear some muffled noises from my room, just don’t question it.”
Etta was in shock, nodding her head. All she could think about was if Alicja will bring girls from a bar here and fuck them or maybe it wasn’t it. Well, she did figure it out the same day and…she wasn’t very happy about it.