Prologue:

I blame everything on my mother.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY MOVING?"

My mother shrugged as she spared me a glance from her Sudoku puzzle. "Exactly what I said. We're not actually going to move this year."

I threw up my hands and stomped angrily to the kitchen counter. "ARE YOU SERIOUS? You mean I turned down my perfect summer apartment and internship this summer FOR NOTHING, because I thought I had to help you guys move?? But instead, you tell me NOW, 3 days before summer starts, THAT WE'RE NOT ACTUALLY MOVING??"

My mother shrugged again. "Well yeah."

You see what I mean?

So this is how it all began with me living homeless at my university.


Because even though I didn't technically have a high paying internship, I still managed to land a decent office job. However, while the high-paying internship would've been enough to pay for my housing expenses, the decent office job did not.

I considered commuting back and forth from home for a while, but that would've been too unwieldy, in terms of time and in terms of my mother's annoying tendency of refusing to pick me up at the train station after 10 PM. (The latter had led to situations where I spent very painful and sleepless nights on a hard bench at the train station.)

But then, as I was browsing the web one day, I found a news article about how a guy had managed to live for 8 months in the basement of the NYU library. Not in a creepy way like the Phantom of the Opera, but in a legitimate, I'm-too-poor-for-NYU-housing kind of way.

And as a plan began to formulate in my mind, I was like, "why not?" I could sleep in my own university's library that stayed open 24/7 or in the numerous study lounges in academic buildings that had very comfy couches. After all, I had slept in worse places before (note: see train station). I would keep my clothing and necessities in a locker and I would shower at the gym. And just like that, my mind was made up. It'd be a bit painful for a month or so, but I'd save so much money! Living in NYC was expensive after all.

When I tell this story to my friends, they always ask questions like, "But what about your parents? Weren't they worried?"

Honestly, my family isn't a very emotional bunch. I was planning on staying over at my friends' rooms once in a while, but I wouldn't want to impose too much. So when my mom asked about my living arrangements, I just slightly "adjusted" the ratio of days that I would be staying at friends' places as opposed to sleeping in public spaces.

And my mom was mostly just like,

"Um, you should probably leave your watch at home, cause it's expensive."

So, with my mom's "approval" and a change of clothes for 2 weeks, I went off to NYC for the start of my summer.

This is the story of my summer- of annoying security guards with too good of a memory, of $4 halal street meat platters and $1 pizza for dinner, of summer party adventures, of a mysterious note, and…of a boy.