For another couple of weeks, the house ran quiet and Lorena and Fallon avoided each other. Fallon disliked Lorena’s propensity to argue about something every time they did speak. It was frustrating but she put up with it because it was a place to live.
Most of her days consisted of going to work, an occasional lunch date with her coworker Charles Nyquist, and jogging around the Bay. The consistency was helpful, each day building new habits that would keep her from the ones she desperately wanted to go back to. This life was hard, but it wasn’t harder than living in her car, and it certainly wasn’t harder than anxiously wondering where her next bump would come from.
Ultimately, this place was turning out to be good for her, despite her odd rooming situation. On the off chance they did see each other, the air was filled with silence or the sucking of teeth complete with dramatic eye rolls. Communication was not their thing, and she wondered what happened between them that really put them at odds with each other. Yeah, she hadn’t talked to her in two years, but she couldn’t. She had her reasons and Lorena needed to respect that. Then again, people never tend to stay the same, and it was obvious that they had grown apart over the last two years. This person she once considered her best friend was now the most alien person she had ever encountered.
It all came to a head one rainy afternoon. Fallon arrived home and found Lorena sitting in the kitchen. There were tears in her eyes and she was quickly attempting to wipe her eyes, pretending everything was okay.
“Lorena???? Are you okay?” Fallon asked. Any animosity towards her roommate was gone and it was just like old times. She was there ready and willing to pick up all the pieces of her broken friend.
Lorena didn’t look up, she didn’t speak, she merely burst out crying.
“Omg you’re like really worrying me…..” concern took over Fallon’s thoughts.
In an effort to give Lorena her privacy and to avoid more needless arguments, Fallon had stopped trying to be buddy buddy with her and just focused on saving money to move out. They didn’t need to be friends again, if that’s what Lorena wanted. All Fallon needed was a place to stay till she could get on her feet. But she couldn’t ignore her.
“Come on, we used to tell each other everything. I so appreciate you letting me live here, and I know we ended on….bad terms…I guess……the least I can do is listen to you. I feel like I haven’t contributed anything other than rent money.”
Lorena still said nothing staring into her lap
For a moment Fallon thought about saying “fuck this”. But she stayed, hoping Lorena would say something….anything.
After a long awkward moment Lorena spoke, breaking into tears again, “I have to go back to Oasis Springs”.
“What do you mean you have to go back to Oasis Springs?” Fallon asked frowning.
“My grandma died,” Lorena started sobbing even harder, “my grandpa is there by himself and refuses to go to a nursing home. There’s no one else to take care of him,” she broke into long sobs.
“Oh no! I am so sorry Lorena, I know she meant a lot to you…..What’s going to happen with this place?” Fallon asked looking around.
“I’m going to have to sell it….everything I’ve worked for….to help cover funeral expenses and my grandpa’s medical bills,” Lorena muttered softly.
“There’s no one else that can help?” Fallon felt like it was a dumb question, but had to ask.
“No,” Lorena said bluntly. “The rest of my siblings are a bunch of fuckers who care about everyone but their own family….” with rage in her voice, Lorena took a shaky deep breath, trying to calm her breathing.
“Lor I am so sorry…is there anything I can do?” Fallon asked as gently as she could.
“No. But you need to be out by next week.”
“Next week!?!? That soon!?” Fallon exclaimed, shocked.
“Yes. I need to move into my grandpa’s house as soon as possible,” Lorena replied, avoiding Fallon’s gaze.
“What about my security deposit?”
“I am sorry Fallon, I cant refund it to you. Every little penny I have is going towards funeral costs. I hope you can understand.”
Fallon felt defeated. Where was she going to go? With what money? Now that she couldn’t get her security deposit back….what was she to do? It would be fucked to force Lorena to give it to her considering the circumstances and she was only able to save up about 2k since she had moved in.
“Okay…..,” she said finally, willing herself to not freak out about the money.
“Thanks,” Lorena said quietly. “Honestly, the only reason I let you stay here is cause I needed the rent. My job has been shit lately and I’ve barely been able to pay the bills….I shouldn’t have let you stay here,” she shook her head as the sniffled.
“It’s okay. I understand. I imposed on you and I shouldn’t have,” Fallon felt horrible, of course, she was so wrapped up in her own situation, she didn’t think to find out what was going on with her friend.
“Yeah, you did,” Lorena said in a sudden accusatory tone.
“I did. But it seems like both parties benefited,” Fallon challenged, crossing her arms defensively.
Shrugging, Lorena took another deep breath to calm her nerves a bit more.
“Well…when you move please stay in contact ok? Oasis Springs isn’t that far…” Fallon said shakily. She didn’t really mean it but it felt necessary to deescalate the situation.This was just what she needed. It’s not like living with Lorena was the best thing in the world….but she had finally started to get settled and now this.
“Sure, Fallon. Maybe,” Lorena said getting up from the table. “I am going to go shower. Enjoy your night”.
“Yeah…you too….” she called out to the retreating Lorena, “Fuck,” she said to herself.
Later that night she sat at the computer in her little room and searched for available rentals. There were some homes nearby, some empty lots…some fully furnished apartments available for rent. After two hours of weighing the pros and cons of renting vs buying, she decided to try her luck at buying property and building a tiny home….getting a loan would be easy….right?
One of her old roommates, Jacob, who lived in the group house with her, moved out a year ago and bought a tiny home down in Newcrest. Even though she had visited once, she even remembered every detail of the small efficient space. With very few personal items, and the drive to invest in her future, she was excited with the idea of a building her own home. What was there to loose? She had enough money to stay in a hotel now, at least for a little while. It would be more expensive than rent, but living in her car wasn’t an option.
After another hour or so, she researched and sent inquiry emails to Fitch Banking Associates. An establishment that came with stellar reviews. Its community focused mission was unheard of for a bank. Hopefully they would get back to her quickly, the sooner she could get the ball rolling, hopefully the easier the transition would be.