My Roomate, The Kleptomaniac

There are horrible roommates, and then there was our disaster.

Last updated on Apr 14, 2024

Shocked woman in closet Engin Akyurt, Get Lost Mike | Canva

The first time I met Knife Eye, I was sitting in a fish and chips shop with my friend, Lucien. Just in case the idea of a fish and chips shop conjures up something British and quaint in your mind, let me assure you, Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips on Sixth Avenue in Greenwich Village was the furthest thing possible from charming and English. During the 1980's, this shop was probably the most disgusting fast food place on earth. And retrospectively, that made sense as we were about to meet one of the most repulsive creatures we'd ever come to know ... and live with.


We were interviewing for roommates, as all financially-wiped 18-year-olds do. We lived in a tiny studio, one that always seemed to be invaded by other friends, brothers, sisters, and nieces looking for places to squat, and truly, the entire experience needed an upgrade. Lucien and I made a very haughty, pretentious duo. We had such dreams of grandeur but what we needed was someone to back us, you know, like a Broadway Angel. This "five people trying to sleep on a single bed" thing was tiresome. We needed out and the only way we'd be able to start our royal journey was by getting a roommate to share the expenses — or even better, take over the expenses, being that Lucien and I didn't make a dime.


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And so, we stumbled upon an interested party named Amy, who agreed to the terms. Lucien and I would be known as the King and Queen of everything and she would be known as our court jester ... who had a job and would pay for everything, joyfully. Amy quickly lost her born name and was dubbed "Knife Eye," because on the first day, she lived with us, we saw her hold an apple, cut herself a slice, and bring the slice to her mouth with the knife still in her hand, and stab herself in the eye, accidentally. Again and again and again. (Lucien and I wondered, how is it that a person wouldn't catch on after the first stabbing? If only our complaints could end with this off-putting gesture; alas, they were only just beginning.)

Knife-Eye turned out to be a filthy stalker-kleptomaniac who liked to defecate in closets and hoard an ungodly amount of trash in her room: food, bugs, unwashed clothes, thousands of papers, and course, a collection of self-made human turds that ranged in age from day one to the day she finally got out of our apartment. Knife Eye was also infatuated with me. Back in those days, I liked to sleep without clothes. I had my bedroom (remember, Lucien was gay. We were boyfriend and girlfriend, yes, but not lovers in the traditional sense of the word), which I designed in my typical Goth way: black satin sheets, black lace, crystal goblets, and silver antiques everywhere.




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One day, I woke up to find a rather beautiful complement to my exquisitely Goth interior: a fresh lavender rose in a lovely crystal flute, right beside my coffin bed. How perfect ... until my senses came to me as I realized I was completely exposed, and how did this rose come into my chambers when this is my place of grand privacy? I, the Vampire, did not let people into my room when I slept yet, someone dared to enter. And that someone was Knife Eye.

Knife Eye had taken on some new version of Stockholm syndrome and was now in love with the person whom she fantasized was her captor: me. If you are ever up for taking captives, avoid teenage girls who stab their eyes. Horrified, I told her never to do that again. Needless to say, the very next morning, I found another delicate lavender rose by my bedside. And the next morning, and the one after that. I wasn't just annoyed, I was completely paranoid that I was living with a maniac who was obsessed with me.


To make up for her poor choices, she would beg forgiveness by stealing clothes for me. I would come home to boxes and boxes of expensive stolen goods, all containing gorgeous and insanely expensive items of clothing that were all meant for me. It was getting very dangerous. (Not that I turned down the black leather pants that fit me like a glove and made me look like a rock star, but everything else? Get rid of it!)

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Knife Eye had lost her mind — and was now not only being a completely sick creep; she was breaking the law! If I wasn't the enabling person that I was back in those days, I would have directed her to the nearest precinct. Instead, we did no such thing. We (Lucien and I) attached a hose to our sink and hosed her room ... with her in it. Because when you're crazy and live in New York City as a teen in your palace of garbage and fantasy, you do things like fill an apartment with water, right? Right. 

I would have loved to have known what was going on in her mind as we committed this atrocious crime but she just gave us that glassy-eyed stare; the one that silently said, "I'm insane. With me, comes trouble. We no talkie." Shortly after the hosing, we finally lost Knife Eye to the great wild. One day we came home and Knife Eye was nowhere to be found. There was an eerie *hush* in the hallways as if that thing from Insidious was going to jump out at any moment and lash us into ruby ribbons. However, she left us a hoarder's paradise to clean up, a closet full of human turds, stories that would leave us forever paranoid.


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Dori Hartley is primarily a portrait artist. As an essayist and a journalist, she can be read in The Huffington Post, ParentDish, YourTango, The Daily Beast, Psychology Today, More Magazine, XOJane, MyDaily, and The Stir.