At 5:30PM tomorrow, I will be evicted from the apartment that The Political Scientist, The Model, and myself dubbed the “Refugee Camp.” It is a terrible apartment – no hot water, poor insulation, and internet access goes down for weeks at a time. It’s located nearly 40 minutes from the nearest train station near the Tokyo city limits. Rent was almost $1,200 a month for two, so I had to live there in secret. When the doorbell rang, I had to leap into the closet in case it was the landlord.
Times were hard for all of us. None of us had valid work visas but we were determined to find a way to stay in Japan. We risked deportation, eviction, and bankrupcy together and managed to keep smiling.
I remember how excited my roommates were to get a taste of an exotic American-style thanksgiving. I remember when we invited our Japanese friends over for our candlelit Lithuanian-style 12-course Christmas-eve dinner complete with traditional games and gift exchanges.
We talked together over litres of fine wines, beer, 999, vodka, and strange Taiwanese liquor to celebrate each other’s successes or to take the edge off disappointments. We shared everything we owned, and I don’t remeber ever hearing a single harsh word exchanged.
The Political Scientist left on June 21st, and The Model followed all too soon after on July 22nd. I’ve been living here alone for a week, cleaning up memories of a year spent with two beautiful, brilliant roommates.
This is the way things go. The apartment is a shell without my comrades-in-arms. Empty. I’m glad to leave it now.