a breakfast serial

One bite-sized story every morning to uplift, motivate, or provoke thought.

Archive for November 13, 2012

the unexpected houseguest

< by Jill >

Mike, the landlord, opened the door.

“Go on,” he said.

As I crossed the threshold, I moved from a dim, stuffy stairwell into a sprawling golden landscape of hardwood floors, whitewashed walls, and windows that climbed from hip to ceiling. The living room opened to a modest dinette where I discovered the best gem yet: A kitchen with black and white tile floors. My heart swelled, pinning against my ribcage.

“So, it’s $660 a month, utilities included, but you’ve got to set up the gas on your own,” Mike said.

“How do I do that?” I said, opening and closing doors, counting outlets.

“You call the gas company.”


I rented that apartment long before the ink left the pen, but upon signing my name, I officially had a new home. I could find no defect — it was charming, spacious, and constructed so sturdily that it made me want to smooch a bricklayer.

Three days after moving in, I began my first year of teaching. The job made me delirious with joy and frustration. Each night when I returned home, I collapsed on the futon and drank up the silence.

One night, I decided to bake some brownies. I peeled myself off the futon and wandered into the kitchen when something moved. Or no. Am I seeing something? I’m almost positive I — AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!

A giant cockroach raced across the tile as I emptied my windpipes. Like a drunk wind-up toy, it scuttled from white tile to black, finally disappearing under the oven.

I learned an important lesson that day: Nothing, not even a kitchen floor, is ever just black and white.

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Take a look inside the apartment! Note: the image is old — the apartment is not actually for rent : )