Changing the Locks — Chapter 2

The fall brought the return of my roommate. The guy that I was dating moved out of his boarding house and into an apartment that he shared with a woman. His bedroom was in what used to be the garage and her’s was upstairs on the second floor. He had heard about this place directly from her. She worked in the green house that was affiliated with the lab that he was working in.

His room was freezing. I don’t know if it was heated at all, but this was already a problem and it was not winter yet. The walls were painted cement and even with his Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young posters up it looked like it was still the inside of a garage. We did not go there very often.

Instead, we stayed at my place. I was a veterinary student, so there were often times when I would be studying at my desk and he would be in front of the television. It seemed to work out well because I could not study with noise and he could not study without it. We had worked out a rhythm together. Many of the patterns that we had established in the summer continued, despite the fact that he had told me repeatedly over the summer that our relationship was probably only a summer fling and that it would be over in the fall.

A few weeks into this arrangement, my roommate told me that she was moving out. Beyond the fact that she had found her own place and would be leaving, we did not really discuss it. The people that I talked to about this at the time said that it was a normal transition to go from living with a roommate to living with your lover and this was accomplished in a variety of ways.

One woman that I spoke to had had the exact same thing happen to her. She had been living with a roommate and when things got serious with her then husband, the roommate had moved out and he had moved in. It all appeared to be very normal and expected.

I was very upset. I felt like I was doing something wrong or bad and I did not know what it was. I now know that if you pay attention, your body will share all kinds of information with you. Some people call it intuition. Some people call it having a gut feeling. Some people dismiss it as woo woo crap. I now have learned that this kind of response is worth paying attention to. It is not exactly an emotional response. It is more of a discomfort or pain that is difficult to identify or dispel. The truth was that I had this strange, almost overwhelming feeling of fear and panic in my body.

So I took action. I went to the store and bought a new lock for the door. If I felt unsafe from my roommate moving out, I would at least make sure that she could not use her key to get back in. I remember the lock being very expensive, but I needed to feel safe. I needed to do something to get back that feeling of being OK.

IMG_3330I have a vivid memory of sitting on the kitchen floor installing the additional lock into a hole that I had drilled through the door. I had an almost dizzy feeling and it was as though my entire awareness was swimming in a murky place. The guy was standing across the kitchen watching me do this and I believe, if memory serves me right, he found it all very amusing. I was extremely distressed.

Writing this now, it occurs to me that a normal person would have recognized that I was really upset and would have spoken to me or tried to comfort me or at least tried to understand what I was feeling. Perhaps not. As I’ve mentioned before, I was alone for most of my memories so I really had no idea at this point how a normal person would react to seeing someone in distress. I doubt however, that they would find it amusing.

What I did not know at the time was that the wrong person was on the other side of the lock. I found out years later that the reason that my roommate moved out was because the guy that I was with would hit on her while he was in the living room and I was doing homework in the bedroom.

This pattern of having people around me know more about my relationship with this guy than I did continued for a very long time. We have decided that in polite society we will keep secrets for those that “break the rules” and run around. When the relationship was over many people would rush to tell me stories that they had been keeping secret and were dying to tell me.

What they did not realize, and there were a lot of them, was that it would have been beneficial to have had some of this information while I was feeling insane. When your intuition and your body are telling you one thing and every piece of information that you can gather does not support it, you start to question your sanity, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

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