Thursday, June 3, 2021

“The Roommate” by Beth Anne Jones

The box on the floor was near filled to the brim but Ben added his ancient collection of Tamagotchis, a one-eyed Furby, and two way-past-their-prime Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots.  On top he tossed the Most Improved Player trophy he’d won 17 years ago when he played for Royal Tires and the team finished dead last in the Little Baseball League.  

He gave the middle drawers one more check, ensuring everything that was his was no longer there, before relocating himself to the top bunk.

“Well, hi roomie.” The smell of Old Spice and stale Rothmans announced Marvin’s arrival before he limped into the tiny bedroom.

“Hi, Grand.” Ben replied weakly.

“I suppose the bottom one’s mine.” Marvin settled himself on the madras quilt and leaned his cane against the dresser.

Ben hopped down in one swift motion and swallowed hard. Before either of us gets too comfy lets get a few things straight.”

He started to pace the room, embarrassed, not only by the Hilary Duff and Rhianna posters on the wall, but the fact that at 28 years old and working as junior architect, he was still living at home with his parents. And his grandfather had just moved in.

“No, son.  Let me set the record straight,” Marvin interrupted. “We’re grown men, sharing the same space.  Number one: I am not sleeping in a room with toys.  Get rid of this crap.” 

Marvin used the end of his cane to point to the various models Ben had painstakingly built of some of the world’s architectural wonders.  Ben tried not to let the hurt show on his face as he dropped the Eiffel Tower and the great pyramid of Giza into the overstuffed box.

“Number two.  When the door is closed, you are not welcome.  Got it?” Marvin snarled.

“Got it.”

“Number three.  A couple of bucks like us, we need some company.  I keep hearing about this Tinder thing.  You know how it works?”

“Yes, Grand.”  Ben stifled a smile.  The thought of his crotchety octogenarian grandfather swiping left and right was too much.

“What are you waiting for? Ya think I got all day?”

Ben pulled his phone from his pocket and opened the app. 

He hadn’t lived with a roommate since college. 

He’d forgotten what it was like.


Beth-Anne Jones lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband, three sons and chocolate Labrador, Murphy.  She is thankful for the outlet creative writing has provided during lockdown but she is looking forward to getting back to browsing in bookstores, eating inside restaurants and travelling the world.  In that order. 


See Brian Henry’s upcoming weekly writing classes, one-day workshops, and weekend retreats here. 

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