Later, I would come to learn the double locked doors were one of my roommate's mood indicators. Later the boys would confide their frustration with their father's mood swings.
However, long before boys ever expressed frustration, I endured the occasional double lock as well as friendly conversation from which he would suddenly walk away, even slamming his bedroom door.
But, for the most part my roommate secluded himself to his room or the basement cum family room, which still in my memory is darker than it every really was. Whatever the reason my mind coded the space this way, I avoided the basement.
My roommates moods flowed and ebbed. I sensed rage at times lurking beneath the surface, though to be fair, in my presence he offered temperance. The boys noticed this too, and, in time learned to trust it.
What matters is this: He left the porch light off for everyone, especially himself.
I was there perhaps two months before I couldn't bear to listen to him and our other roommate, Connor fumbling in the dark. I started turning on the light for them.
But there was an accumulative effect and I should have left with the advent of belligerent, train-wreck Stacey. Not only because of how she was, but because of how Mr. Wilson seemed to enjoy the situation.
By that time I loved him. Not romantically, but, also more than our "friendship" warranted, if that makes any sense. I suppose it was that I recognized so many traits, particularly this odd combination of elephant ego and awareness of every personal flaw. His oldest son has the same trait, and we had many talks about turning perceived flaws into assets.
At any rate, I stayed and I turned on the light for everyone, even myself. And perhaps I stayed because I was afraid to face dark... where no one would turn the light on for me. Mostly, I think I saw something that wasn't ever there, and because of that I gave my roommate rope than was due. His kindnesses were rare. This is not to say that he was unkind. He was not. I wouldn't have stayed, if he had outright mean.
However, the day did come when I'd finally had enough and I stopped turning on the light for Mr. Wilson. He in turn waged war via door locks.To this day, I don't know what, if anything there was between us. But I don't look at it too closely, because he waged war with locks before we were "friends."
At any rate, enough time had passed in which he had grown accustomed to the light, and so in the end he had learned to turn it on for himself. I too learned to turn it on for myself because I realized, if I waited for him, I'd be waiting forever. Now, I send this lesson out to you. Do not wait for someone to turn the porch light. Turn it on for yourself.
This is of course an analogy. Apply liberally.
Mariel R. is an ESL teacher, horse trainer, writer, editor, sporadic blogger, and lover of beer. She lives in South Korea with two cats, three horses, a German Shepherd and 17 chickens.
Bear (Gom in Korean) then (above) now (below)
Geumbi (Goldy in English) R.I.P February, 23, 2018