2/100. Worst.

See the rest of my 100 things plus the intro post here.


The interview process was long, but not as long as it might have been had I just been a stranger off the street. Lucky for me, I had an “in.” I was a soon-to-be graduate of the Head of School’s alma mater, where a very good friend of mine also taught. Unless I was a raving lunatic, how could I not get this job? Still, the interview process was long.

The job was in New York City and I was prepared to take my suburban self to Manhattan. I knew this one friend and it was exactly what I wanted to be doing: teaching kindergarten. I had just spent four years earning my degree in Elementary Education and I was offered the position of Assistant Kindergarten teacher in a prestigious private school on the Upper West Side.

Just before I moved, though, my friend at the school left her job due to some personal issues and so there I was: 22 years old, having never lived on my own before, in a brand new relationship (my first ever, in fact) moving to New York City — alone. I knew no one, least of all the three random roommates I had found through a roommate-matching service in a time before Craig’s list and Facebook and cell phones.

The day I moved in was hot. It would have been considered a hot day in Boston, but it was crazy, painfully hot in Manhattan, up on the un-air conditioned 5th-floor, after hauling everything I owned into a tiny railroad apartment with too few outlets. (I had a fan, but nowhere to plug it in.) My dad, I remember, who was helping me move, fell against the wall, nearly passing out.

In the room with a dusty windowsill looking out onto the other interior side of the building, where the crazy man who wore a bucket and shower cap on his head put batteries on the ledge to ward off alien invaders, I felt more alone than I ever had before. In this city. In this place. With these people. And this job. Streets I had never walked. Food I had never tasted. Stores I had never heard of.

I picked up the phone to call my girlfriend, but she didn’t answer, and it felt like the ultimate insult. As my eyes began to fill with tears, I drew in a deep breath and tried to pull it together. I headed down the narrow hall to the kitchen. Flipped on the light and rounded the corner to see a million cockroaches scurry to all the dark corners of the room.

My heart pounding, I flipped off the light and wrapped my body around the kitchen doorframe. And as the overhead light faded into orange and then dusky gunmetal gray, I slid my body to the floor, my legs drawn up against me, and I sobbed.

One thought on “2/100. Worst.

  1. Yikes, baby…how horrible. I was there for the move-in but the cockroaches…didn’t know about that. The utter loneliness…I hated leaving you there with those random and seemingly cold roommates…felt very empty inside too…but for you it was worse. And yet you managed, got stronger, obviously did a good job for that school, and learned about NY. While I am so pained at your suffering shared in the post, your writing is brings it all home. xo

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