Some of you may know me as Kerrigan. I tired of the name! Straight up critique the hell out of this.
A dusty and somewhat aged car bounced down the roughly paved road, the vehicle slowing down at infrequent intervals only to speed back up again moments later.
It was very obvious that the driver of the car was lost. The young man’s head – ‘man’ being a bit of a stretch; in truth, he was more in that awkward transitional stage between teenager and adult – turned on a swivel, frantically bobbing back and forth as he absorbed the passing rural countryside, trying to make the road signs match up to the directions scribbled upon the piece of paper that he was tightly squeezing in one hand.
He was young, not even twenty, and had brown hair that was just beginning to creep into the length that could properly be described as long. He had an attractive face in a shy sort of way, with shy being the operative word. He wasn’t exceptionally tall or exceptionally outspoken, and back home in highschool, he fit into the category of students who were neither bullies or those bullied, who weren’t the top of their classes nor the ones at the very bottom. He did well enough, had had a couple of girlfriends and got by.
That was going to be different soon, he thought to himself as these same thoughts passed through his mind. Finally, away from everyone I know with a fresh start, things are going to really change!
If only he could find the house!
He had found the advertisement in a listing put out by the university for students needing housing. It had read that one Sarah Samsa had a room available to rent in a nice house out in the country that was only a twenty minute drive from the university. The young man driving the car was beginning to suspect differently, however. He had turned off the main road over fifteen minutes ago and since then had slowly transitioned from the point of carefully following the directions he had been giving to driving around semi-aimlessly, hoping that he would come upon a street marker that sounded familiar.
As if right on cue, he found one of the roads listed in the directions. He turned onto the road and, back on path, it wasn’t more than five minutes later that his car rolled into a stop in front of Ms. Samsa’s house.
It really was an attractive looking house. It wasn’t exactly new, but an obvious effort had gone into keeping the place in good repair, and a pleasant sort of homey feel was given off the painted white siding. Pleasant flower beds were planted along each side of the house, the delicate purple flowers contained within speaking openly of constant care and attention. The young man’s spirits rose a little as he stepped out of the car and took it all in, the frustration of his drive mildly eased.
In relatively short order, he made his way up the path leading across the carefully tended lawn and, a moment later, he was at the front door. He briefly leaned to the side to glance through the window, though it was a bit too dark to make out anyone inside.After a brief moment, he reached out and pressed the doorbell which elicited a buzzing sound that could even be heard outside and waited.
An answer didn’t take long. He could hear the songs of footsteps approaching and quite soon after the door was pushed open to reveal a cheerful looking woman.
She was a bit older than he had been expecting – she looked somewhere in her early forties, though it did nothing to diminish her warm smile and an almost motherly twinkle in her eyes. Motherly was an appropriate word. She wasn’t so much large as she was just a little padded in certain places. She had blonde hair that looked soft to the touch and that was tied back in a simple ponytail. She looked the young man up and down as if to take him all in and then smiled, as if in approval.
“You’ll be Alex, then?” Her voice was warm and set the somewhat tensed Alex at ease.
He nodded, finding himself smiling back. “Yes, ma’am.”
“I’m glad that you managed to find your way here. I know that the roads can be a twisty if you don’t know where you’re going. Come in, please!”
Alex stepped inside, glancing around as Ms. Samsa moved to close the door behind him before beckoning to him to follow her deeper into the house. He was pleased to find that the interior held just as much appealing charm as the outside, the whole place giving the warm feeling that a home happily lived in does. He was so distracted by his observations that, he realized as he stepped into the kitchen behind Ms. Samsa, he had completely missed a question from his host.
“I asked if you had a pleasant drive over? Eight hours is an awful long way to go in a single drive.”
Oh. “It wasn’t too bad, Ms. Samsa,” Alex returned as he settled down opposite the pleasant woman at the small kitchen table. “It was the longest I ever drove at once, but it really wasn’t too bad.”
“That’s good to hear,” happily said the woman. “Also, please. Call me Sarah. No need to stick to formalities, hun.”
“Alright,” said Alex with a tentative smile. “Ms. S-- Sarah.”
“There we go! Now, I imagine you must be awfully tired after such a long drive, so I’m not going to bore you with a lot of rules. Most everything is common sense, really. You’re expected to clean up after yourself if you make a mess and no loud music after ten o’ clock. No late night visitors, either. I’ll have breakfast ready for you every morning and, as long as you can follow those rules, I’m sure that we’ll get along just fine. Do you have any questions?”
Alex shook his head, replying, “Everything seems pretty clear. Is there anything else that I need to know?”
“Well,” said Ms. Samsa, looking briefly disconcerted. “There’s something you should probably know about the room. It’s, ah…. Well, why don’t we go up now?”
Ms. Samsa pushed herself up from the chair and began heading towards another door, leading to a short hallway with a flight of stairs leading upwards at the end of it. Alex followed in tow, listening curiously to Ms. Samsa’s explanation.
“You see, the only other visitor that I get on a regular basis is my niece who flies in to spend the summer with me. She’s only seven now, you see, so a couple of years back I thought it’d be a nice idea to decorate the room up for her. She doesn’t visit anymore and I’m, err. Well, still in the process of changing the decoration. You can see…” she trailed off, gesturing to a door in the upstairs hallway that they had finally reached. Alex, looking a bit unsure, took the doorknob in his hand, twisted it and then pushed.
Ms. Samsa had not been kidding. The room had been painted a pink color that would be especially pleasing to a young girl and there was even a cartoonish unicorn-themed border going across the top. The floor was done in plush white carpeting and even the furniture had a girlish slant to it – the dresser was a bit on the small side, held together by pink-painted wood and the desk leaning against the wall was similarly coloured. The only piece of furniture not overtly feminine was, thankfully, the bed, which was done up in white sheets with an unpainted wooden headboard. Luckily, it looked large enough to accomodate Alex’s frame.
Ms. Samsa hovered around behind Alex, helpfully saying, “It’s only a temporary thing, of course. You’ll fit in the bed easily enough and first thing I’ll do tomorrow is get started on making it a little more appropriate.”
Alex took the room in, swallowing. The room was girlish bordering on downright childish, but he didn’t want to get off on the wrong foot. “I don’t mind sleeping in here for just one night, Ms. Samsa. I’ll go ahead and, uh, start moving my stuff in.” The older woman rewarded Alex with a warm smile. An offer was made to help Alex move his things in, but he politely refused, saying that he could manage things himself. Ms. Samsa nodded, smiling again before moving off, leaving Alex there to contemplate his girlish room. Oh well, he thought to himself. It’s only for a night.
Alex began the process of moving boxes from his car into his new room and then unpacking them. The whole ordeal passed much quicker than he had expected to take and, soon enough, he was seated upon his bed, most of his possessions stashed away in the pink dresser a few feet away from him or hanging up inside the closet. A sudden weariness overtook him. He hadn’t realized how much energy the drive over had taken from him and the chore of unpacking was the final nail in the coffin.
A loud yawn escaped unburdened from his mouth as he stretched his arms. He lazily kicked his shoes off his feet and then ambled over to the light switch, flicking it off. A moment later he had wiggled out of his pants and, a few moments after that, he was securely ensconced in the surprisingly comfortable sheets and blanket of his new bed. He curled up to keep warm, a pleased smile overtaking his expression as he daydreamed about the next coming days, his first at the university. Big things were going to happen.
Alex had no idea how right he was.