Samantha leaned her head against the worn fabric of the couch and waited for the microwave’s friendly beep to signal the arrival of dinner.
She surveyed her apartment. The place was a mess. Newspapers and coffee cups littered the counters and the growing stack of unopened mail by the front door loomed precariously over the the dying housplants lining the hallway. In the kitchenette, empty frozen dinner cartons rested on top of the mound of garbage already in the bin. She breathed deeply. The place was starting to smell.
Samantha begrudgingly got off of the couch and zig-zagged through the dirty clothes and clutter to get to the kitchen. She began rummaging around the cabinets, looking for some semblance of cleaning supplies, but all she managed to find was a questionable sponge and a single unused garbage bag.
She began shoving trash and take-out containers into the bag as the microwave droned on. As she wandered the appartment cleaning wrappers and crumpled papers from the most visible areas, Samantha realized that she had never actually been taught how to clean. She looked around at the apartment again. A thick layer of dust covered the otherwise unoccupied areas. The walls were bare, save for the faint, sun-faded outlines of past decor, and the windows let in streaks of light through the build up of algae and dirt. Samantha looked closer– the dirt and algea were on the inside.
Samantha dropped the garbage bag in the center of the room and stalked down the hallway to the bedroom, tripping over magazines and boxes along the way. She opened the closet and thumbed through the garments hanging on the rack.
“You, you, you…you…you”.
She threw the pile on the bed and rummaged through the cluttered contents of the bottom of the closet to retrieve her suitcase. She unceremoniously shoved her selections into the suitcase and zipped it shut. She flopped onto the bed and grabbed her cell phone from the opposite bedside stand and dialed.
She heard it ring twice, a faint click, and then his voicemail message picked up. Samantha rolled her eyes.
“You could just answer the phone for once. Listen. This isn’t working out. I’m moving on. I’ll give you a call when I’ve settled in. I’m not sure where I’m going but I’ll let you know”. She paused. “And…I—I’ll see you soon”.
Samantha hung up, rolled off of the bed and stretched. She picked up her suitcase and headed down the hallway, her suitcase knocking over piles of clutter as she went. She reached into her back pocket and pulled out her phone and dialed again.
This time, there answer was almost immediate.
“Samantha?” The female voice on the other end sounded groggy.
Samantha glanced at the time and winced– it was almost 3AM. Oops. “Hey, Amy”.
“…why are you calling so late?”
“Well, sis, I’m moving out.”
“Oh, Sammy, not again–you just got this one–”
“I know, babe, but it didn’t pan out.”
“They NEVER pan out, Sammy, you know that”.
Samantha rolled her eyes. 3AM and her sister was lecturing her already. It was going to be a good day. “Listen, sweetie, I’m over this one. I’m headed uptown tomorrow, want to find a new place. Do you want to come?”
Even on the phone, Samantha could feel Amy’s annoyance. “No, Samantha, I do not want to come. I’m happy here, I’m settled. I have a family, friends– I have kids, Samantha. I can’t just give that up because you’re—bored”.
“Okay, okay—look. I’m going to go, but I’ll give you a call when I’m settled in, okay?”
“Fine. And Samantha, please– be careful. I love you, even though you’re an irresponsible idiot. Promise me you’ll be safe”.
“I always am, baby sis, I always am. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go find someone to wear”.
She shoved her phone back into her pocket and stepped into the hallway, her suitcase rolling behind her. Wheels on a suitcase. Whoever thought of that should be sainted. Samantha pulled the cheap wooden door closed behind her and headed down the darkened hallway.
From behind the door, the microwave beeped.