Chapter 1

It was a year of many firsts.

I had just started the first semester of my first year at university. I was living away from my parents for the first time. And I had ended my first long term relationship with a very complicated and stressful break up.

The University of Guelph was an old university – then again, the word old is relative: much older than me, probably younger than some of the other universities I had considered in Ontario. But that's not my point. I'm just stating a fact: it was old.

It was also the first time I had lived in an apartment – an apartment-style residence building to be precise. I had a single room but I shared the suite, a kitchen and two washrooms, with five other students, two girls and three guys. Four of them were regular drinkers. Three of them smoked. Two of them really perverted. And one of them was a nature freak and a bit of a psycho.

If nothing else, they kept things interesting.

The three guys in my apartment: Chris, Ryan and Dean exemplified all the characteristics of guys I would never want to be with: alcoholic, hacker/computer nerd, and avid soccer player.

According to my logic, a rugby player or a football player could put up a fight if you ever randomly got attacked. A soccer player, on the other hand, could probably run away very, very quickly if nothing else, and leave you behind to deal with "the bad guy." ie: Good luck! You're screwed!

They were also quite obnoxious and rather flirtatious – and that's me making a mole hill out of a mountain.

The biggest issue:
They didn't clean up after themselves – ever. Every night I would end up throwing away candy wrappers and half empty beer cans, and putting game counsels back on the shelves. Every morning I would end up washing extra dishes because as much as the guys liked to eat, they didn't enjoy taking responsibility for their mess.

And you really couldn't argue with them.

"Chris! Why didn't you wash your dishes?"

"I don't even have dishes! I use paper plates!"

... Right.

"Ryan! Stop leaving your shoes in the living room or I'm throwing them off the balcony!"

"Um, they're not mine, have fun!"

... Hmph.

"Dean! It's your turn to take down the garbage this week! I even tied the bag and everything!"

"What are you talking about? I just did it last week?"

...No you didn't. I did.

They were assholes.

Heather was the first friend I made and I have yet to understand how we became so close so quickly. She lived one floor below mine in the building and I had met her on move-in day, after which she had started coming to my room every consecutive night after classes.

We had many things in common: She had played rugby in high school. She loved sappy love songs and classic chick flicks. She ate candy like cavities and diabetes didn't exist. She was friendly in an invasive way once she got close to people. She also had a very low tolerance for B.S.

Heather and the boys got on each others' nerves and their efforts to make each other miserable were thoroughly amusing. Her short dark curly hair, her pale skin and her deep red lip stick frequently gave people the wrong impression of who she really was. And when boys made related comments about how closely she ressembled Betty Boop, they'd get a shoe thrown squarely at their faces. She had a fiestiness to her that boys commonly adored.

So where I fought my battles with my words, she fought with physical aggression - something I definitely looked up to.

The main difference that it came down to was that I was more of a grades-associated-guilt-tripping nerd and she was more of a fun-chasing, risk-taking party girl. Somehow, we both managed to maintain that difference no matter how much time we spent together.