The rapping on the door grew more urgent by the moment as my desk chair rocked forward.
I paused and frowned, puzzled. I haven’t told anyone of my room number. Yet.
I couldn’t see anyone though the door hole. The knob clicked silently.
And then the ambush came.
It was as if a bear hugged me. A squealing one.
“I’m Lauren, your roommate!”
“Yeah, I figured,” I muttered in a daze.
“Oh my God, this is so cool, I’ve finally met you!”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Lauren’s enthusiasm was contagious. And she didn’t look fat. I must have stalked the wrong Facebook profile after all.
Then one by one, her family sauntered in with introduction of almost equal zeal. They were all talking at about the same time.
On the top of my desk
“I love your poster.”
It was one of the first things my roommate’s mother said to me.
“Haha, yeah, that’s funny,” Lauren, The Roommate, added.
“Thank goodness you’re not a Texan,” I remarked with relief.
“Don’t worry, we all hate Bush,” Her mother reassured.
I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the Schwartzes gush in awe of the room their daughter will be living in with me for the next 12 months. They took note of everything from the large size of the room and the wasp nest right outside on top of the wall-sized window.
“You better tell the Resident Assistant about this,” Mr. Schwartz cautioned.
“You speak very smart,” Mrs. Schwartz continued. “Are you sure this is your first time coming to the US?”
“Yeah, seriously, your English is, like, so good. I really thought you’ve studied here for at least a year.”
I had to laugh and tell them that if they were to base the English standards of most Malaysians on mine, they would be severely disappointed.
A bittersweet chuckle. I felt little pride in being an exception.
I left for lunch with Fiona, a Singaporean sophomore, while the Schwartzes helped Lauren arrange belongings twice the amount of my own. Over Jimmy John’s sandwiches, we discussed parental expectations and childhood angsts, much which seemed reasonable now, more than ever.
Fiona was one of the many who were surprised that I didn’t miss home. Per se.
I suppose it’s because I’ve been a loner long enough.
When I got back to the dorm, I came to a pleasant surprise in the form of a mini refrigerator, courtesy of Mr. Schwartz. Mrs. Schwartz seem to support the democratic ideology very much. Lauren told me that I could borrow anything I want without asking. They all told me that I could eat anything they bought.
I don’t remember the last time I clicked with a whole family this well.
And right after the door closed behind Mr. and Mrs. Schwartz, I was invited to a frat party. House owner is a friend of their daughter. Good folks with good supply of pot. Prior to this, the daughter advised me that the only drug I should bother trying is only weed. Life and education aren’t worth the bigger risks. Mainly because she has been there done that.
I couldn’t ask for a better roommate.
Of a burning throat, strobe lights, a green table lamp, and sedated minds, I slouched on a bean bag in lazy stupor with a cold relieving Gatorade on my arm, and suddenly, I completely empathized with Eric Foreman and his basement gang.
I felt Zen.
“The coldest part of my body……is somewhere on my hand……”
And more blonde than ever.
I don’t think I can show this blog to my parents now.