By Holly A. Phillips — @OrangeJulius7
“This is a bit out of nowhere. but I may be homeless in Baton Rouge tomorrow…”
It was a text I got a few weeks ago from a fellow writer friend who was coming in town from states away. He went on to ask if he could stay at my apartment the following night.
It was, as he said, completely random, and although I’m happy to help out anyone who needs it, I wasn’t even going to be home the night he suggested. But when I asked him what he was in town for and how long he’d need a place to stay, I didn’t hear from him for another day. He was really busy getting drunk in Lafayette, he said.
While I did consider this guy a friend, we also have a deeper history than that. Years ago, I had a huge crush on him. He is one of those people that’s so passionate about what he does, he’ll do anything to do it, even if it means sleeping on people’s couches, apparently.
We hooked up one summer—after getting drunk and reading passages from The Great Gatsby—but everything ended abruptly when he decided to get back together with his ex.
Things were awkward for awhile, and then he moved away to be with her, and I haven’t seen him since. We talk on the phone or via text maybe once a year, but it’s nothing more than that.
Over the next few days, he persisted on staying at my place. But the more I thought about it, the less comfortable I felt.
Was he planning on staying on my couch? Or in my bed? I was afraid it was a situation that would lead to something bad, given our past.
Sure, I’m single. But I’m trying to avoid putting myself in situations that are going to leave me hurt, even if it means being a stickler over houseguests.
That Saturday, a coworker showed up at my apartment with his pillow and a rice cooker. He’s in college and had asked to sleep on my couch weeks before and I agreed. I remember being broke and in college.
I swear I don’t usually get people begging for my couch. My apartment is small, as it’s just me living here.
With my college pal on the couch, there was really nowhere for the visiting writer to sleep. Unless, of course, I gave up my bed and got a hotel. By the text messages I was getting, writer guy would have been happy to kick me out of my own bed.
“Have you no mercy?” he texted.
I eventually stopped responding because I felt like it was going down that manipulative road I am too familiar with. If he just wanted to see me or visit, why didn’t he ask me for coffee or lunch? Why did it have to involve an overnight thing?
And frankly, if he was that desperate for a place to stay, why didn’t I get more than a day’s notice?
I don’t like to assume bad things about people, but all signs were pointing to red flags. I just couldn’t even deal with it. So I didn’t.
I’m sure I looked like an asshole, and in this situation, I think I’m okay with it. Perhaps it wasn’t my nicest move, but in the end, I got to sleep in my own bed, and avoid any awkward breakfasts.
And just in case you’re wondering, I’ve been sleeping just fine.
Read more about going with your gut on Holly’s blog, TheBitterLemon.com.