“The long-lost roommate”
She hadn’t seen Lisa in over a decade; since graduation, really. Beth was having a hard time imagining what she might look like after all this time. Would the years have been kind to her? Or would they have taken a few choice moments to break her spirit a little, just as they had with Beth?
Beth was sitting in what Lisa had termed her ‘favourite spot for a good cappuccino and the best biscotti in town’ in their e-mail exchange the previous week. She looked around the place, trying to get a sense of her boarding school roommate from the coffee shop’s decor and music.
The walls were covered in prints of paintings depicting different cities around the world. Paris, London, Istanbul, Buenos Aires each in bold, loud colours that would have clashed in any other setting. That felt familiar. The two years she had shared a room with Lisa, she had fallen asleep each night staring at the eclectic and colourful collection of this, that, and everything that Lisa kept on her desk. It was no wonder she always did her homework sprawled across her bed.
The collection came from things people had gifted her as she was growing up, mementos of family and childhood friends, and things she had found in different parts of the world.
As for music, she had never really learned Lisa’s tastes much. Despite being vibrant and expressive as a person, Lisa had always listened to music on her headphones. It seemed to be something deeply personal for her, and something she just didn’t share with others. Which was a shame for Beth, whose connections with people revolved primarily around a shared understanding of music.
Like Lisa, despite the vibrant decor, the coffee shop’s music was mellow and instrumental, filling the silent void for people like Beth who sat there, contemplating the walls and waiting for someone, some time, something.
Perhaps Lisa had managed to remain unfazed by time. Perhaps she had kept on being vibrant, interesting, kind.
Beth wondered how she might respond to that. Would she be resentful? Would she find herself being jealous?
While life had treated Beth well, she had stumbled into disappointments along the way, both in love and in her personal passions, that had left her a little unsure of her footing. The once quietly brave girl who dreamed about sharing her music with the world had pursued her passions for years only to be told time and time again that she was only almost good enough, but not quite. She had ignored it at first, but persistent disappointment had begun to wear her down.
It was right as she was considering throwing it all away and starting something different that she received a note from Lisa. Upbeat as ever, she had asked for them to meet up after all this time.
Now, Beth was someone who happened to believe in the power of the universe and its many signs and coincidences. She saw this note as a sign for her to take a beat and give herself some more time to consider before she gave up all her hard work. She agreed to meet with Lisa and see if her long-lost roommate would have anything to say that might change her mind.
So, there she was: waiting to see what version of Lisa would walk in through the door and what she would have to say after almost ten years of silence…