“Comfortableness is always the start of being normal.” My voice so small, dying out from the rain beating against my front window. This was my fifth time, but I still couldn’t grasp the meaning and the intention of the author. A simple message yet hard to swallow, what is being normal anyway, I thought. Looking back, I asked my roommate Bia, who was sitting on top of her desk with one leg up, a snack in one hand and a book in the other. “Don’t you think being normal is a good thing?” “Uhm, you know maybe it means boring. Comfortableness makes you boring. Yeah, that’s it.” She said it with so much certainty, making me argue that being boring is not a bad thing. “Yeah, it’s not bad, but it’s not a good thing either. It practically says that you’re not an interesting person. Tedious.” She spat those words squinting her eyes at me as if I was the one she was talking about. “But don’t worry, I still love you with the love of the Lord. We’re still sisters in Christ.” I threw my pillow at her. I can never thank her enough for our friendship. Really.
I always thought I was putting myself out there, trying out new things. Challenging at a university that is beyond my ability, going on an internship in my 2nd year, even studying abroad. “I’m not in my comfort zone, and I’m not boring.” I mumbled. My thoughts suddenly got interrupted by a knock on our flat door. It was unusual. We would usually get a notice if someone was coming. “Hi guys, I’m your new flatmate!” the stranger by the door sounding too enthusiastic made me cringe, it’s a boy. I quickly looked at Bia, quietly making signs for her to handle the situation. “You go.” I sighed and dragged my feet by the door to welcome the unwelcome visitor. Perhaps I should have insisted Bia open it for me.
“Hi, I’m Sam, your new flatmate for this semester. Nice to meet you.” 175-centimeter-tall, fair skin, curly hair, freckles on cheeks, smiling too brightly like a sun, this guy called Sam stood by our door reaching out his hand to me. I stood there staring, long enough for him to bend on my eye level to catch my attention. “Hi.” “Hey, nice to meet you,” I finally took his hand to mine. It was big and warm. “I’m Christen.” Awkward silence ate us up until Bia finally decided to save me. I just watched them have a conversation like they had known each other for a long time. I admired Bia’s social skills, how she dressed like a hermit but was so easy going. I should leave. I took a final glance at Sam before going back to my room. Perhaps I shouldn’t have looked, because then our eyes wouldn’t have met and maybe that was what I desired.
Sam wasn’t particularly tall or built unless I considered the fact that I’m 149 centimeters tall. And that 26-centimeter difference made him look intimidating although he was always smiling and joking around the flat. I only needed to avoid being with him alone, that’s what I thought, but it didn’t go as I planned. Ever since we locked our eyes on the first day, he always seemed to want to include me in everything that was happening around him. University meet-ups, quiz nights, game nights, night hangouts… “Christen, I know you’re there. Come out, we have a schedule.” I opened the door. “For the tenth time, you’ll break our door from your knocking. And it’s your schedule, not mine. I am not coming.” But he just stood there smiling like he knew I would never win this conversation like what had happened for the last 3 months since he came to our flat. “… But it’s a nightclub… I have never been there, and I need to get up early tomorrow.”
“FYI, tomorrow is Saturday, which means no class. And remember, so much of who we are…”
“… is where we have been,” I finished his sentence admitting to myself that I could never give him a good reason to say no. We just stood there looking at each other, him smiling brightly at me and I, smiling defeatedly at him. Perhaps I should have insisted on not going.
For the past three months I experienced a lot of things because of Sam. Things that even Bia couldn’t make me do for the six months we had been roommates. He was persistent. Since the day he decided to make me come to every event he was going to, he never failed to succeed in his mission. I didn’t know why, but there was just something in the things he said that eventually led me to bend my desire to stay in my room. What should I wear, I don’t have any clothes for a club? My thoughts halted when Bia threw clothes at me. “Oh, you’re home.”
“Yeah. You didn’t seem to notice because you were having a staring battle with your closet for the past ten minutes.” I spread the clothes she threw. “Sam told me you’re going to a club. You can wear that.” Why does she have this kind of clothes when she seems to be always at home? I invited her to come with us only to be rejected that she was tired, and would rather sleep than dance in a dark, crowded, noisy room. Precisely. “Are you getting ready?” He really never gets tired, does he? “Yes,” I shouted.
Inside the club was exactly what I imagined it to be, dark, loud, and crowded. Sam took my hand leading me to the table where his friends were sitting. We greeted them and sat down. I should have worn pants. The dress Bia gave me was uncomfortably short and skinny, making me feel the curves of my body. I felt out of place. Compared to other events he had me tag along on; this was the worst. I just sat there looking at the people dancing, talking to each other, and some getting intimate… growing up in a Christian family, this was a new sight for me. I glanced at Sam, who was enjoying his time chatting with his friends. I could have said that I’m a Christian to Sam and then maybe I wouldn’t have been there, but why didn’t I? “I haven’t seen you before, you are?” a girl with a drink in her hand talked to me. “Yea, it’s actually my first time here. I’m Christen.” “Jaycee here. First times are always fun.” Sure. She asked me to have a drink with her, which I politely refused. Minutes that felt like hours passed, the people who were sitting moved to the dance floor, leaving me and Sam alone at the couch. “You enjoying the night?” How dare you ask me that question after treating me as if I didn’t exist? “Yea, you can join your friends and dance. I’ll be waiting here.” “Nah, I’ll keep you company.” Perhaps, I should have pushed him to the dance floor to leave me alone.
It was past midnight and everyone that got tired of dancing came back to the couch to rest. “What time are we going home?” I asked Sam, only to be answered by the person sitting next to us. “Your girlfriend seems bored. You better go home right now.” I sat there not knowing what to say, or rather waiting for Sam to answer it for me. He only laughed and told them that I’m just a good friend, nothing more, nothing less. What he said was true. We were just friends. Good friends. I didn’t hold those feelings towards him. But something inside of me started to sting.
After more hours of staying and having fun, we finally decided to go home only to find that it was raining when we got out of the club. My favorite weather, yet I wish it wasn’t raining today. I looked up and stretched my palm. “You know, you’re like the rain,” Sam began, “soothing, gentle, cold and sometimes unpredictable.” “… Really? If I’m like the rain, you are like the sun. Bright, passionate and… hot.” He laughed, “so you think I’m hot?” “Sure. Interpret it as you want.” We are different from each other. That was the last time Sam and I hung out. Possibly the atmosphere after the question we got asked at the club was the reason, or maybe the conversation we had about the rain and the sun and how different we are from each other. But we still stayed good friends with moderate distance from one another, so that both of us could really feel that we were nothing more and nothing less.
Perhaps because he taught me how to be adventurous, maybe because he was the first guy who I put my trust in, or because we spent too much time together, or at least that’s what I thought. Maybe that made me think of something more, that there could be more. I am thankful even if it was short, I learned how-to step-in things that I was unfamiliar with. I learned a lot from Sam. But despite the thoughts in the back of my mind that the rain and the sun can be together, I mean sun showers exist. Like sun showers where the sun and the rain only meet for a short time, Sam and I, were only passing each other. “You were really like the sun,” I mumble looking at an umbrella-shaped key chain he gave me on my birthday with a letter, “Never be afraid to try something new, because life gets boring when you stay within the limits of what you already know.”