I feel like I need to start this story off with a clarification: Marissa and I were roommates, not lovers. We wouldn’t make any sense as a couple. To tell you the truth, we didn’t make any sense as roommates either. But I was desperate for a room and she was desperate for the other half of rent, and Craigslist was helpful enough to complete this doomed equation. And just like that, a very, very bad living situation begun.
Like any bad living situation, the fault lies with both parties. I was at fault for neglecting to tell her beforehand that I was absented-minded and messy. And she was at fault for neglecting to tell me that she was fucking insane. Once we both found out about each other's faults, we tried to treat the situation maturely like adults.
But somewhere along the way, we declared war on one another. I will spare you the details, because it’s not all that interesting and I fear I would become a far more bitter narrator than I ever care to be.
The story I do want to tell you, however, takes place during this war, over the course of one night, when we were forced into a period of peace. It was during this period that I discovered that I wasn’t just living with an unstable person, but an actual Gone Girl. If you have not read the book, or seen the movie, I suggest you do so at this time (or at least check out its wiki page). Go ahead, I’ll wait.
OK ready? Great. Now like all stories of this nature, this one begins with a series of loud THWACKS.
THWACK! THWACK! THWACK!
“RANDY! Randy are you there! Please help! Let me in! He’s after me! He’s after me! Let me in!”
(Another quick clarification, that last bit of dialog, that “aaaaah!”, that’s coming from me, not from the voice pleading for help. As I’ve explained in the previous story, whenever I am awoken by a loud noise, a let out a surprisingly feminine cry. But I digress…)
“RANDY! PLEASE HELP ME! HE’S AFTER ME!”
Like a frightened toddler, I swivel my head up to my bedroom window, the direction where the screams are coming from. That’s when I discover my roommate, Marissa, standing on our front porch, her face smushed up against my window, begging for help while her hands continuously slap the glass.
“Ma-Marissa?” I sputter.
“Randy, you gotta let me in!! He’s coming!!”
Instinctively, I jump out of bed and rummage through my pants pockets looking for my keys, but I can’t find them. Meanwhile, she keeps on thwacking the glass and pleading for me to unlock the front door, as if I’m unaware that the situation is serious.
At last, I find my keys and run out of my room and straight to the front door to unlock the deadbolt. I try my best to get the key into the key hole but I’m so full of nerves that it takes a humorously long time to do so.
“Randy! Open the door! He’s after me!!”
Finally, I get the key in and unlock the door. Immediately, the skinny frame of Marissa bolts into the house and she jumps into my arms. This is all very weird for me, as Marissa has refused to talk to me in the last three weeks, much less touch me. (Which has just been fine with me, interacting with her at all made my skin crawl.) And yet here we are in this moment, with her shivering in my arms, thanking me profusely.
“You just saved my life! You just saved my fucking life!” She repeats this over and over again. Naturally, as I hold her, I peer out the door window, waiting for some boogey man to suddenly start rampaging towards us. But no one comes. Eventually, I get Marissa to calm down enough to let go of me and take a seat on the couch.
Three minutes later, Marissa is clutching a cup of water, muttering to herself, as I sit next to her wondering what to say. Luckily, I end up not having to say anything, as she suddenly dives into the whole story, or at least, her version of the whole story.
She tells me that she was at work (she works as a bartender at this dive bar in Midcity… yeah I know, enough said) when her ex-boyfriend came in and started harassing her. Then the manager tried to get him to leave and they got into a fist fight, then the cops show up and the ex-boyfriend hightails it to the back patio where he hops the fence and disappears. Then Marissa gets a call from a girl who says she is her ex-boyfriend’s new girl and she’s going to beat her up. This freaks Marissa out so she leaves work and walks home. That’s when the ex-boyfriend finds her on the street and chases her all the way to our house.
“Holy shit.” I say, when she finishes. “That’s insane.” I find myself actually feeling sorry for her, wondering if maybe I’ve been too hard on her, if this is what she’s been going through. But then a thought hits me.
“Wait… don’t you work like three miles away?”
“So he chased you for three miles?”
“Yes! I’m telling you he’s fucking insane! He wanted to kill me!”
Obviously, this sounds all kinds of weird to me, but before I can pry more information from her she excuses herself to her room so she can lay down. She tells me goodnight and thanks me again for ‘saving her life’ and then disappears into her room.
So there I am, alone in the living room, in my underwear, wondering what the hell has happened in the last twenty minutes. And then, of course, there was a knock on the front door. A loud, aggressive knock.
It’s him! I thought. It’s the boyfriend! He’s come here to get his revenge!
A grab the closest thing around me that could be used as a weapon, the plastic blue broom leaning up against the wall. If the image of me in my boxers, armed with a broom, walking towards the unknown while my crazy roommate hides in her room sounds too much for you, don’t worry, I felt the same way. I promised myself once this night was over I would start looking for a new place to live.
I open the door and am greeted by the sight of two stern looking police officers. (For those keeping score at home, yes, this is the second story in a row where I answer the door in just my boxers only to find the police staring back at me. I guess it’s just my thing).
“Sir, we know you’ve been in an accident. Come with us.” One of the gruff cops says.
But before the cop can explain further, a voice chirps up behind me.
“It was me officer, I was in the accident…” Marissa says as she walks nervously towards us.
I give her a quizzical look, but the cops whisk her away into their patrol car before anything is explained to me.
The last thing I hear her say to the cops is: “Am I in trouble?”
Now it is three in the morning, and any hopes I had of getting some sleep that night are completely dashed. Instead I lie in bed wondering what really happened with Marissa. What kind of trouble had she gotten herself in now? Would I ever see her again?
An hour later, I get my answer. Marissa returns home. I go out to the living room to meet her. This time, she’s all smiles, completely calm. I am beyond confused. After I press her a little she gives me the story, the real story.
Apparently, she didn’t walk home from the bar. She got a ride from some guy she met at the bar, she tells me. They were drinking together when he offered her a ride back. He was pretty drunk, but he told her he was fine to drive. So they got in his truck and headed towards our house. Somewhere along the way, he managed to drive into the neutral ground and run straight into a tree, causing his truck to flip over. They both crawled out of the truck and ran off in different directions. Marissa headed to our house (but not before leaving her purse in the truck, which is how the cops found her at home), the man ran somewhere into the night. And that’s how it happened to be that she came banging on my window.
So all that stuff about the boyfriend chasing her and trying to kill her was totally made up. This never made any sense to me... until I saw the movie Gone Girl. Then the dots connected. A delusional woman angry at a (ex) lover and wanting him to pay so she tries to stain his reputation and make him seem evil? The truth became evident. And the truth is, I’m lucky I’m still alive, cause I was living with a freaking Gone Girl.
*also, Marissa is not her real name, I’m not crazy enough to take that risk.