It was a rainy day in autumn as I was sitting on the love seat by my window that looked out into the city. I was content and cozy drinking my hot cup of Earl Grey tea, watching the orange, yellow, and red leaves fall from the trees. My cat Izzy was happily purring in my lap. The only thing that was disconcerting was that I had been noticing more and more stuff disappearing from the apartment. None of my personal stuff, but stuff that my roommate and I communally shared, and stuff that was just hers.
Lily and I were best friends and had been best friends for years now. Lily had always been a very quirky person. She grew up poor, and at the age of 13 her mother killed herself and her father had abandoned Lily and her sister. After that, Lily basically fended for herself, living on the streets until her grandmother had heard that her daughter died and her granddaughters were wondering the streets of New York City.
Lily was tough, street-smart, and a very loyal friend. She was sweet but had a temper that could flicker to the other side faster than a blink. She was a hippie, a vegetarian, and a masseuse. She played guitar and sang odd songs.
Was I going crazy or had all of Lily's plants in the living room disappeared? Where were the creepy paintings that she had hung up, that she bought from a flea market? And shouldn't she be home by now, baking cookies and singing in the kitchen?
Maybe I was overthinking it. She was probably at the farmers' market, talking to some homeless people, or had met some cute guy at the coffee shop downstairs and was getting lucky.
I should do some things to distract myself from thinking maybe Lily got murdered and raped, I thought. So, I got up from the window seat, my cat annoyed that I woke him up from such a peaceful slumber and made another cup of tea. I went to my room, put on my coat and scarf, and left the apartment to take a walk around the city and maybe do some errands.
The autumn air was cool and crisp. Autumn was my favorite time of year. It's cool, but not freezing, and everything is so beautiful. The sky is the brightest blue I have ever seen it all year. I love smelling the smell of firewood, cinnamon, and the smell of hot coffee pouring out of the local coffee shops.
The cool air felt amazing on my face as I walked briskly past bookstores and restaurants. Geese were flying through the air in a V-formation, migrating for the winter. Squirrels were running about Central Park, gathering bundles of acorns for their upcoming hibernation. Leaves were falling everywhere and being blown in all directions. The wet smell of the leaves was intoxicating.
I went to the farmers' market and bought some apples to make apple pie, two pumpkins to carve with Lily, and the tomato sauce I always purchased for making spaghetti. I went to the bookstore down the street, bought two books that caught my eye, and walked home.
When I got into the apartment, I noticed that the fall-scented candles on the kitchen counter and living room table had been lit and that the dishwasher was running.
"Lily?" I called out, hoping this wasn't another chapter of Chloe Goes Crazy.
"I'm here, love!" Lily replied. "I'll be out there in a second. Just straightening up my room a bit."
I breathed out a sigh, relieved my mental state was intact and that my best friend and roommate was home safe.
Lily came out of her bedroom, smiling nervously.
"Hi hun," she said. "How was your day?"
"Good, typical day at work," I answered. I thought this would be an opportune time to bring up the subject of Lily's vanishing items. I was either going to risk appearing insane or get some helpful, reassuring answers.
"So Lily, I was wondering, where did all your plants go? And where is the curtain of beads that hung from your bedroom doorway? Where's the toaster, and half of the refrigerator magnets? Are you giving things away to charity?"
"Look, Chloe," she replied. "I bought an apartment a couple weeks ago and I've been moving my things out bit by bit over the last few weeks, hoping you wouldn't notice and hoping to wait until the last minute to bring the difficult subject of me moving out".
"What? But why? Why are you moving out? I thought you liked living together," I said, bewildered.
"I do like living with you Chloe, but sometimes I don't. We fight about roommate stuff like cleanliness and orderliness, and I'm just not as clean and orderly as you. I want us to stay friends, best friends, and I couldn't see that lasting with us being roommates. I love you."
"You're the best friend to be so considerate and sweet. I love you too, Lil'."
And we have the best friendship two women could ever have, and we always will.