My lease was up, and me and my then girlfriend Deadre moved into her brother, Damien’s place. It was a two bedroom flat (paid for by their parents) and was he okay with us crashing at his place temporarily.
As thankful as I was, I wanted my own place really bad. Until that moment, I wasn’t big into saving. Seeing as how I couldn’t afford to find a place at my low budget, I took this as a heaven given opportunity and I worked like crazy. I took up as many shifts as I could, working 6 days, sometimes even 7. It was at a restaurant, a bit far from his place.
Dre, on the other hand, liked her current living situation. It was her little brother’s place, she didn’t have to make rent. She wasn’t supportive of my idea of moving out ASAP, and tried to convince me to take it slow.
I was so thankful to Damien, I bought groceries, paid for the utilities, and cooked for all of us. Out of the three of us, I was the best in the kitchen, and I didn’t mind cooking. Dre cleaned up the place from time to time at my request, begrudgingly, since she was home all day anyway. But that stopped soon after. Damien went to a community college nearby. When he wasn’t taking classes, he was home playing his games since he had no interest in cultivating his social life. No cleaning up from his side either. It was all me.
I was pulling in my weight and then some. She had just been laid off before moving in, and was taking her sweet time finding another job. She didn’t have to make rent, and couldn’t understand why I wanted to move out so quickly.
My working day went like so: wake up at 6:30 A.M., make breakfast, get ready, out by 7:30 for the 8:30 shift. Got home at 7-ish, cook dinner, hop in bed with my phone and drift off to sleep. On my rare days off, I just slept in. That was the one day they had to fend for themselves. It was like I was on auto-pilot.
In the beginning, I was okay with the arrangement. Whenever we sat down to eat, they told me how glad they were to eat my cooking, they thanked me for doing so much for them. Damien would tell me how his studies were going, I told him my crazy customer stories. It was a nice bonding time with Damien. His sister was someone I saw spending the rest of my life with.
Dre talked about jobs she was interested in here and there. Now that I think about it, I don’t think she even applied to them. When I got home all tired, she would complain about how nobody called her back, or how the interview didn’t go as planned, how hard it was to find employment, etc. Perhaps she carried that act so that I wouldn’t ask her about her finding a job.
Soon, Dre came clean about giving up on finding a job, told me that it was just taking too much toll on her with all these rejections. Also, would it be okay if she could take maybe two, three months off before starting to look for one? I made more than enough for both of us, anyway. Maybe she could see what being a stay at home mum felt like, she laughed.
I wasn’t okay with that, we were still young, we could work while we weren’t tied down. We could plan and save for future obligations. But I did empathize with how frustrating being rejected felt. I told her that she hadn’t been working since before we moved in, it was already two months in. She should still apply, just not as much as she was before. She didn’t look happy, but agreed to my request.
Some days go by after that conversation. I had a particularly difficult shift one day, the boss was berating me nonstop with some customer complaint. I was drained mentally and physically. I had just got to the bus stop with the heaving shopping bag when I missed the bus.
As I sat waiting another good fifteen minutes for the next bus, I contemplated my life choices. Was I doing the right thing? Is it really what I want? Should I quit?
I got home to a messy house, both of them were on the couch. They looked over, didn’t even say hi, and went straight to, “So when is dinner? We’re starving!”
My hands gave out and the bags just dropped as I covered my face in frustration.
I swore to myself, at that moment, that I would never let myself be put in a position like that ever.
*Relayed to me; not my own story