Alvin’s room had not been this clean since the day he first stepped into it while checking the new vacancy. That was before he had the time to make any kind of a mess. Although, a close second may have been when his friend Moe gave him some Adderall to help him write a term paper. It didn’t help him with the term paper, but it did somehow encourage him to clean his apartment- to an excessive degree. But tonight likely trumped his Adderall induced cleaning frenzy. Alvin didn’t realize any of this but instead was irrationally fixated on a stain embedded in the carpet under his desk. A stain which he had been feverishly scrubbing for the past five minutes.
Finally, being brought back to his senses by a dull pain in his back he stood up and twisted, making an unnaturally loud cracking sound. After turning back and forth a few times, he stood there and beheld the new room and came to the realization with bewildered curiosity, “My room has never been so clean.”
After coming back to reality, he also realized that his heart was beating obnoxiously fast, his shirt was soaking wet, and he was breathing like he was a clown trying to blow up balloons at a birthday party with thousands of angry unamused children. He also had the subtle feeling that maybe he was about to vomit- but that feeling was generally somewhat chronic.
He looked at the room while catching his breath and had the retrospective wish to have taken before and after photos, but the wish was quickly dismissed as he realized that if a before picture had existed he would be too embarrassed to ever show what it had looked like before. He thought about taking just an after photo but then realized that the photo wouldn’t make any sense to anyone besides himself. It would be just a photo of an immaculately clean bedroom.
Alvin wasn’t entirely sure how or why the cleaning frenzy started. But it almost certainly- and to everyone else quite obviously- had something to do with the fact that his friend, who wasn’t really a friend, but who also wasn’t really not a friend, and who was also a female, was coming over tonight to study in his now immaculately clean room. Alvin didn’t know this- or he subconsciously didn’t acknowledge it.
However, standing and seeing his irrationally clean room, feeling his heartbeat unreasonably fast against his now ridiculously soaked sweaty shirt. He finally came to realize that he was indeed excited. He quickly came to terms with the fact that the thing that he was in fact excited about was a girl named Grace, the girl who was coming to study for their biology final later tonight. And judging by the irrational cleaning frenzy that just took place, he would say that he was irrationally excited and definitely should try to calm down.
“This definitely isn’t a date,” Alvin mentally reminds himself. It’s just a study session with an old friend. Although he also thinks that it could be something. If not a date then what? Is it normal for people to study together late at night in college? Yes, it definitely is. But yet at the same time, she did ask if she could come over to his place to do it. The library is definitely open all night. Is this what people mean when they say “hook up”? He had no idea. Alvin couldn’t tell if he was just consciously naïve, or if he was just throwing this whole thing out of proportion. Why are these things so complicated?
One thing that wasn’t complicated was that Alvin- though previously refusing to acknowledge the fact- certainly liked Grace, as they said in elementary school he, “liked-liked” here, and although he wouldn’t admit it to anyone, including himself, was unquestionably thinking about her naked.
Alvin finally decided that, regardless of what this late night study session meant, he was glad it was happening. He liked Grace, and he was determined to make some kind of “move.” After deciding this, he felt surprising utterly horrible. He supposed that this was what butterflies in the stomach are supposed to be, but he thought the feeling was supposed to be a pleasant one. To him, it just felt like he was about to projectile vomit all over his impeccably clean floor.
Alvin starts taking his now very sweaty clothes off but realizes, while stumbling with his pants wrapped around his ankles, that he doesn’t have any clean clothes to actually put on. He forgot his clothes were still in the machine at the laundromat down the road.
He says out loud, “oh no,” as he checks his watch and notices that Grace will be here in thirty minutes. He says “oh no,” again. Alvin quickly starts calculating the time needed to clean and dry clothes. He quickly realizes it’s impossible. It would take ten minutes on the Number 26 bus just to get to the laundromat.
“Perhaps this is for the best?” Alvin wonders. He would be like an oddity, a new aged modern man who lounges around within the tranquility of his own home in his underwear and robe. It would undoubtedly be very modern and definitely would show confidence. It would also be erotic and sensual- studying in our underwear.
“When in Rome right?” He asked his reflection in the mirror behind the door.
But as quickly as this ridiculous thought crossed his mind, he became terrifyingly aware of how absolutely absurd of an idea it all was. He looked at himself in the mirror, almost entirely naked minus underwear and jeans still around his ankles and although he was not particularly unappealing, he certainly wasn’t “confident,” he definitely wasn’t “sensual,” and absolutely was not “erotic.”
Besides, people don’t study in their underwear. That has certainly never been the case, and it definitely was weird to think it ever could be.
“Oh no, oh no, oh no,” he nervously stammers to himself as he stumbles out of his room into the foyer. Taking tiny restricted steps, his pants still wrapped around his ankles.
“Dan?!” he shouts randomly to the apartment. “Dan, Dan! where are you!” He does a quick spin around as if to make sure he isn’t for some reason hiding in one of the corners of the sparsely furnished foyer. “Dan. Dan! We have a crisis.”
Dan pops his head out of the kitchen doorway, confusion and slight annoyance on his face, and is immediately surprised by Alvin’s appearance.
“Alvin?” Upon seeing his roommate’s almost completely naked sweaty body, “Are you having a stroke?” Dan jokingly asks his roommate. “My god, have you been working out? Since when do we work out? Please tell me we don’t have to start working out.”
Alvin fighting to catch his breath. “Dan. I need clothes” he asks hopelessly while standing in the foyer in his whitish yellow-brown boxers.
Dan, taking in Alvin’s appearance, “I. can. See. That.” he replies.
Dan wondered if his friend had finally gone completely insane. Which is something he had been expecting for a few weeks now. He stared at him for a few seconds not sure how to respond.
“Oh for god sakes man! She’s going to be here in-” he quickly checks his watch- “twenty-nine minutes!”
“Yep, He’s gone insane.” Dan thinks to himself but accidentally says out loud.
“Dan it’s just that”- Alvin’s phone starts beeping, and he instantly rips it out of his pocket, immediately drops it in midair, and proceeds to juggle it, tossing it back and forth a few times before catching it, and frantically starts reading a text.
“Hi, Alvin can’t come tonight sorry. Remember that guy I told you about? Well, he finally asked me out. Tonight! He’s SOOO hot! Tell you about it later. So happy! So excited! Sorry again! Not like YOU needed to study anyway haha. XOXO. Later.”
Alvin looks at his phone for a few seconds. Dan looks at Alvin slightly concerned and wondering what the hell was on his cellphone that Alvin was so distraught about.
A brief fictional montage plays in Dan’s head of Alvin getting involved with the mafia and finally cracking under pressure. In the span of a few seconds, the montage quickly escalates from extremely unlikely to blatantly impossible.
“Never mind,” Alvin says as he turns and duck walks back into his bedroom, not bothering to pull up his pants. He slams the door shut as he enters.
“Your room looks nice!” Dan shouts encouragingly at the closed door. “Looks like someone’s been taking Adderall again,” he mutters to himself as he walks back into the kitchen to continue eating Ramen noodles out of a still cooking pot.