I live in a three-bedroom apartment with two other girls. We'd all decided to move in together of our own volition. This wasn't some random mash up of personalities gone wrong; we were friends.
Actually, that's kind of a lie. I never really liked Shoshanna*, she just sort of came as a package deal with Harley,* so I was nice to her. I'm a decently clean person. My mess in my bedroom isn't the type to result in a roach problem and I do my dishes in a reasonable amount of time for a college student.
The first semester went well enough. I can only remember one real confrontation among us that was specifically about our living situation and not our social lives. My mother had come up to visit, cleaned our entire kitchen for us and (as mothers tend to do) just brightened the entire place up. Harley was really grateful for it because —while it wasn't horrible — our kitchen needed some help.
That same morning, Shoshanna came back from her boyfriend's place, ate what I remember to be pizza and left the plate in the sink. It wasn't that big of a deal, but I did text her and told her, "Hey, this isn't a big deal but, it looks sort of disrespectful to leave a dish in the sink after my mom came up here and cleaned up what is one-third your mess."
She blamed the offending dish on her ADHD and (I later found out) went on to cry about it to our friends living in a different building. I shrugged it off, assuming that maybe she was sensitive. She had just found out that her boyfriend had cheated on her with her best friend and, even though she had forgiven him, maybe she just needed me to give her some compassion.
At one point, when everyone kept pointing out to her that she always did a horrid job doing dishes, she explained to us that her eyesight was very poor (never mind that you can feel the grime on a plate or bowl when you're washing it) and we responded with understanding and let it slide. She didn't have to do dishes anymore. The following semester, things really spiraled downhill.
I was having a bad week. I was tired and sick and my depression had been gnawing at me for weeks. So I didn't notice that all of my plates had been disappearing until Harley brought it to my attention. I think Harley disliked Shoshanna much more than I did, but she was a very non-confrontational person so I always seemed to be the one to handle confrontation. When Harley brought it up, I decided to be nice and spare Shoshanna's very sensitive feelings and address my missing flatware in a way that implied I had no idea who the problem was.
I called a roommate meeting with all three of us.
"It has come to my attention that a lot of my plates have gone missing and I don't really know or care who has them. I would just like them back and clean, by tomorrow." I'd written, revised, and practiced that line for almost a full thirty minutes, just so I could spare Shoshanna embarrassment.
"Well, I only have like two plates," was her response. A lie. I knew it was a lie, Harley knew it was a lie, and Shoshanna knew it was a lie.
"Whatever, I really don't care, I just want to be able to use my own dishes." I ended the discussion before there could be more lies.
Harley decided to out Shoshanna as having more than two dishes and Shoshanna went on to blame it all on a friend who was supposedly hiding dishes in her room so to turn us against her. Not wanting to get involved in drama, I left after I'd said my piece.
Later, while I was at the gym with Harley, the supposed dish-thief texted us both to tell us that we'd made Shoshanna cry by picking on her and excluding her from our trip to the gym (mind you, I'd invited myself to the gym so she surely could have too).
It was comical to me. Shoshanna was acting like a child. When I came home and asked her what the problem was, she burst into tears about how mean I was. The next time I had a problem with anything she did, instead of telling her about to her face, like an adult, she requested that I text it to her instead. It was insane.
For the following week, there was silence in the apartment. Shoshanna refused to make eye contact with me except to tell me that she'd bought a new set of dishes and silverware. I was okay with that. We all knew her bedroom was a mess of old plates, crusty bowls, and expired milk cartons. She was basically growing her own mold colony and it was slowly becoming more advanced than we are. But it wasn't my problem yet, and I didn't care.
Then the garbage problem came up. Harley and I were the only ones taking out the garbage. Shoshanna actually set her trash on the floor next to the garbage can instead of just taking it out. I made a lovely chore chart so she would understand that the garbage fairies don't just magically make the trash disappear. She vandalized it. That's when I got mad.
I told her about that her behavior was childish, about how she was the most arrogant person I had ever met — she had failed about two semesters worth of classes and was kicked out of the Pre-Pharmacy program and very close to being kicked out of school in general, yet she still thought she had the answers to the world — that her bedroom was disgusting, and I'll admit that I even threw in a jab about how none of her friends really liked her. She avoided being at the apartment after that.
She went home one weekend, and left everything on in her locked bedroom to run up our electricity bill. She thought that it would punish us, but we just used to circuit box to cut her entire room's power off. I was winning whatever petty game she thought she was playing. In case you think I'm overreacting, I heard her on the phone with her mother admitting that she had been running up the power bill in the apartment on purpose and she planned to not pay her part of the last two months bill which was in my name.
We only had two weeks of school left, and I was ready for war.
The wifi router belonged to Harley, so I asked for her blessing to change the password. Shoshanna threw a fit and demanded we give her the password and asserted that she had a right to it (she didn't, she'd have to buy her own) and as I was walking over to the circuit box, she grabbed me and shoved me backwards.
I slapped her.
I know, not the most adult thing to do, but she had grabbed my arm that had been freshly tattooed that same day, and it hurt. She stormed out of the apartment, blubbering and whining like a baby. When she came back, she came back with the cops. Here's the rub: she called the police on us, not because I slapped her (she assaulted me first), but because we changed the wifi password. That was what came in over dispatch. That was why they were called. The officers thought she was crazy and told me — after they asked if I'd like to press charges for assault — I should try to be nicer to her.
It didn't matter anyway, because she went to stay at a hotel that weekend. On Monday, when I went to the leasing office, they informed me she was moving out within the next 48 hours. I didn't even have to pull out the big guns like outing her two parents who are influential in her town (one is a judge and the other is a lawyer) as secret racists, or ruining her life in any other way I saw fit. Now, Harley, while she still wants to live with me, knows that I'm not one to be fucked with.