Dear Reader:

I am not sure how to follow up a story with tantric sex, so I’ve stepped back to a little effort at pure fiction.  The story below is part two of a story called “Roommate Issues”  the first installment of which was posted on this site on October 23, 2012.  It concerns the not-uncommon situation nowadays, where a basic suburban American kid at a middling college ends up with a foreign exchange student as a roommate.  Thanks for reading.


Me and Nathan have almost finished the freshman year.  He’s acing science courses while I struggle with sociology, which is kind of embarrassing.  He hasn’t exactly helped my personal sociology, either, if you know what I mean.  I can’t bring a girl back to the room ‘cause he just hangs out and wants to talk about molecules or something.

I said to him one night:  “You gotta get out of the room sometimes.”

“Where should I go?” he asked.

“What if you went to the gym?  Do a little working out.  Add some muscle.”

He just looked at me kinda disappointed, and said:  “I’m not sure I’d know what to do.”

I wasn’t planning to be a saint or anything, but before I could even think about how it would go down, I said:  “How ‘bout if I take you the first time and show you the ropes.”

He grinned.  “Thank you so much.  I would like to see ropes.  Maybe I can take you to the chemistry lab with me sometime and I will show you what to do.”

“That’s okay, Nathan,” I said.  “No obligations.”

So, last month I took him to the gym.  Some of the guys looked at me a little funny when we walked in together but they can’t talk crap to me.  Not to brag too much, but I’m pretty much a regular there, and it shows.  Nathan, on the other hand, is a little lacking in the muscle department.  He hasn’t lifted anything heavier than a chemistry book his whole life.  I showed him what machines to try and wrote him up a little routine.  He took it real serious.

After that, much to my surprise, Nathan seemed to like the gym.  He even went on his own like every day last week.  The other night, he came back to the room all proud and announced:  “I’m growing bigger breasts.”

“Chest, Nathan,” I said.  “A man gets a bigger chest.”

He looked confused, so I pointed to the Kardashian poster on the wall.

“Women have breasts, I explained.  “Men have a chest.”

“Oh,” he said.  “Thank you for fixing me.”

I laughed at that one.

“Dogs get fixed, Nathan.  I’m just helping you.”

“Dogs?” he said, confused.

“Never mind,” I said.  I wasn’t sure how I’d explain that one.”

Overall, living with Nathan hasn’t been so bad.  He’s quiet and clean and always has things I can borrow when I run out, like toothpaste and shampoo.  I was even starting to think about asking where he’s rooming next year – maybe we’d stay together or something, when, get this, I come home from dinner last night and find him with a girl.  Yep, there he is sitting on his bed, dressed, next to a skinny girl whose glasses are larger than the rest of her head.

“I want you to meet Jhin,” he says, looking proud.

“Shin?” I try to repeat.

“Jhin,” he says.

She looks up at me and I get the whole picture.  She is probably the least attractive Asian girl I have ever seen.  She’s got zits and a gap between her teeth and eyes like saucers behind thick lenses.  She’s in a Mickey Mouse tee shirt and a pair of pants that look like my mom’s living room curtains.  She doesn’t say anything.  She just smiles up at me and I see they are holding hands.

“Oh my God,” I think.  “Nathan’s got a girlfriend.”

This is something I never expected.  Me and Nathan discuss a lot of stuff: food, music, sports and he tells me ninety-nine percent more about chemistry than I understand, but we never talk about girls.  Anyway, I guess it’s cool.  Why not?

“I meet Jhin at the gym,” he says.

“Aha,” I think to myself.  “That’s why he’s been going so much.”

“Do you work out?” I ask her.

“I work desk,” she says in a squeaky voice like a cartoon character.

Now I remember seeing her.  She checks i.d.’s and hands out towels.  So, like this is really awkward.  Am I supposed to stay and act like I’m studying, or is she going to leave, or what?  I walk over to my desk and turn on the computer.  I’m acting like I’m reading stuff but I’m really wondering if they are gonna leave, or if she’s gonna leave, or, God forbid, they’re gonna make out.  They whisper something to each other and Nathan says to me:

“Going to library now.”

“Oh, I didn’t mean to make you leave,” I say, though I’m, like, really relieved.

When they get off the bed, I see Jhin looking up at him like he’s some sort of god.

“Wow,” I think, “this girl’s in love.”

“See you later,” says Nathan.  “Jhin has to do research on human connection to other spices.”

“Like cinnamon or pepper?” I ask.

“No,” says Jhin.  “Humans compared to monkeys or dolphins.”

“That’s ‘species,’” I say, trying not to laugh.  Man, Nathan cracks me up sometimes.