When I came home from work today, I found my roommate, at the dining room table, where she always is. I suppose it's a bit odd for a 24 year old to have a 60 year old roommate, but the timing of our lives just happened to line up. She's the mother of my brother's girlfriend (try saying that over and over) and though we are worlds apart, we get along fine, and everything in our house runs smoothly. I usually stay in my room watching movies, reading, or playing with my cat when I'm not at work or out imbibing ridiculous amounts of alcohol, whereas she is usually sitting at the dining room table, or baking something in the kitchen-despite the 111 degree temperature outside-or cleaning the baseboards for the millionth time.
Sometimes we talk-she's a children's librarian, I'm...well, not really a librarian, but people think I am anyway; we're both single; we've both had terrible relationships. Our conversations are usually brief, and generally conclude with her back at the table, and me up in my room.
Where was I? Oh yes, when I came home from work today. I've been working two jobs, so I'm rarely home, and having had a rather rough day at work, I was exhausted. She attempted to engage me in conversation, but I really just wanted to go up to my room and lay down with a beer and a book. I exchanged a few pleasantries, walked to the fridge to grab a beer, and on my way to my room noticed her looking at a photo album. And I stopped and watched her for a few minutes-pouring over the photographs, smiling at some, a few pained looks over others, but taking her time looking at every single one. As I watched her, I smiled, and then got that feeling that hits me when I'm really sad-that punch-in-the-gut feeling because your body can't differentiate between physical and emotional pain, and I couldn't figure out why. I went to my room, beer in hand, the images of her pouring of photographs replaying in my mind. I started looking at job postings, apartments in other cities, somewhere else to escape to.
And then I wondered when I'd have the life where I want to take time to pour over photographs one-by-one, and smile.