A couple years ago, I lived in a different apartment, part of the same building as the one I'm in now.
white My roommate was someone I didn't know and almost never saw.
white He was from India.
white The landlord set us up when I emailed her about needing another person to split the rent.
white Our rooms were right across from each other.
white Sometimes I'd open my door in the middle of the night to use the bathroom, and he'd be standing by his door, looking out its slight crack.
white Other than that, I lived a year with him and our only exchanges were brief smiles in the kitchen while we drank water.
white I saw the inside of his room once.
white He was gone and he had left his door open.
white I didn't go into his room but I did look.
white There was just a sleeping bag on the floor and garbage all over.
white The garbage made a steep pile in the corner of his room.
white It looked exactly the same as my room.
white Three days before the end of our lease, he walked up to me in the living room.
white I was reading.
white He told me he had just finished his PhD and that he wanted to buy me pizza to celebrate.
white He kept saying, "Ahm—do you like beesa hot? Beesa hot?"
white I knew he was saying Pizza Hut, but it also sounded like he was saying, "Bees are hot."
white I was worried that he'd turn around with a back covered in flaming bees and then point to them saying, "Bees are hot," in his tiny voice.
white Flaming bees would've been nice to look at I bet.
white Maybe too scary though.
white I said, "Yes, I like Pizza Hut." He ordered pizza and we ate it, sitting very still on the couch.
white We only looked at each other once, to nod and smile.
white We didn't say anything.
white I moved out the next day, into an apartment on a different floor in the same building.