You bolt upright out of a hazy half-slumber in the back of your Principles of Bulgarian Microeconomics class. Oh my god. The realtor is going to show your apartment in 5 minutes, and the contents of your apartment are not fit for human eyes. This is not good.
You meant to email the realtor back and make up some excuse for them not to come. There was no time to clean – only 24 hours notice, and the deep pits of despair your living space has sunk into would take grueling hours to remedy. If someone saw that apartment, that room, the consequences would be colossal. You don’t care about what the realtor thinks, but word would get out. Surely, the students seeing the place would talk. They would talk to all their friends. How couldn’t they? The horrors are too great, too foul. Word would get out. But you had a big assignment due for Bulgarian Micro this morning, and with class at 11 am your sleep schedule would have needed some serious adjustment to clean AND finish the assignment. Yes, an excuse would surely be necessary………………
…..but you got lost in the vast world of Eastern European economics and the thought of cleaning and excuses and realtors and apartments slowly left your mind,further and further away, until you put the finishing touches on the big assignment and finally went to sleep. Up early, out of bed, no time for breakfast, you have to present your work! And soon, and you’re there and it’s time to go up and ahhh.. you’re done, now time for a quick little nap in the back of class…..
This is not good.
How much time left in class? Class started at 11:10 am, 5 minutes left until it ends at noon. The apartment is supposed to be shown at noon. Home is a 10 minute bike ride.
This is not good.
But you can’t risk disrespecting your professor by leaving early after your presentation went so well, you need his rec letter, time to wait. Only 5 minutes. You can get there in time, maybe they’ll be late, the realtor is always late. On the way home now, it’s noon. Traffic is heavy, people going out for lunch, the light is red oh my god why is it still red finally green gogogogo check the time it’s 12:07 almost home please let them be late I could talk to them tell them I have covid or roommate has covid NO
You see the realtor’s car pulling away down the street. They must have been early. They saw it all. Maybe they’ll understand. What’s a couple of beers before bed? I don’t always have time to cook for myself, they’ll get it. I’m a busy student, they know that, they know there’s not always time to change the cat litter or take out the trash or clean up the dishes or pick up the floor or…..or maybe it’s not as bad as you remember. Time to go in.
You open the door. It’s dark, the shutters are drawn. You meant to get the lightbulbs fixed, but some faint light is still filtering in, enough to see what lies inside.
You can almost feel the disgust still lingering in the air. It’s so much worse than you remember. The stench of rotten fruit and cat urine wafts out and slaps you in the face. It stings. Empty McDonalds bags, cans of beer, cans of Red Bull, dozens and dozens of cigarette butts, garbage, some uneaten apples…you meant to eat those, you really did… putrid and rotting, all strewn across the floor, and the bong. It must not have been washed for months now, the once gleaming glass now completely opaque with resin. Every kitchen appliance is coated in grease and grime and the smell of cat urine now smells like the cat himself had been tossed into a McDonalds fry vat at the end of a long day. The couch in the living room is torn to shreds, your roommate fast asleep on it. He must not have woken up.
This could have been your roommates. People know this isn’t you. They are surely more beast than man to live like this. People know that. Maybe people won’t think it was you.
Maybe your room is not so bad. If your room is okay, perhaps you will be granted absolution after word inevitably gets out. You creep upstairs, slowly, so slowly, and swing the door to your room open.
You must be more beast than man, too. You shall not be forgiven. No absolution could be possible, not from anyone who has seen or heard the likes of this. The pile of used tissues on your nightstand is overflowing onto the floor, you didn’t have time to take them out…and with the bottle of lotion right next to them, the story would clear as day to a blind man living in the bowels of a cave. The pile of beer cans on the floor next to your bed is encroaching on your bed, under your bed, almost to the door, there must be a hundred cans, some are leaking onto your sheets, how could you not have noticed that last night? The floor is still sticky and the stench is akin to a whorehouse that has been baked in the sun for days and days and days. Your bathroom is covered in gunk and biofilm and hair and the smell of BO lingers inexplicably in the air. The mirror is too dirty to see yourself clearly, only a filthy silhouette peers back at you.
It might be time to clean the apartment. No one else can see this. Maybe word won’t get out…but you know deep down that it will…and you have so many more assignments to do this week, and then exams and finals……
You’ll have to clean it before you move out. You’ll have time then. Yes, that will do. That will do just fine.