Roommate #13 Shira by Susan Weiman
Rather than Craigslist or Roomi, I met Shira at Ed's going-away party. Israeli-born Shira came to New York at age sixteen with her father. Grateful that she didn't have to serve in the Israeli army, she volunteered to help U.S. veterans find housing. After graduating from NYU, she worked in real estate, finance, and later became the Executive Vice President of marketing at Edelman.
After she lost her job as a marketing guru, she moved in with me and took part-time work as a florist. She filled the apartment with lilacs, peonies, and tulips. There were plants on every window sill. On my birthday, she baked a huge carrot cake, decorated it with a bunch of organic carrots and invited everyone in the building to celebrate. To top it off, she bought me two tickets to Hamilton!
Shira loved to answer the phone. The entire time we lived together, I never spoke with a telemarketer or received messages from credit card scammers or Medical Alert. She cleaned the bathroom, emptied the trash, removed the crumbs from the toaster...I never had to ask her to do anything.
Without my knowledge, she wrote and posted a profile of me on OK Cupid. I received hundreds of messages and she screened each one. Although I should have been furious at her, that's how I met Neil.
"My mother's dying. I have to go home," she told me the day after our six-month anniversary. As the only daughter, she had to take care of her. I told her that I understood, but her words hit me like a thunderbolt.
Shira told me to keep the security deposit and gave me an extra month's rent. I felt bad for her and insisted she keep her money. She wouldn't hear of it. She left for Israel the following day.
A week later, I posted an ad on “Roomi.” That evening I had three women lined up to see the apartment -- a waitress, a nurse, and a flight attendant. I couldn't do it. Neil, who still lived in his own apartment, told me to take my time.
Could I live with another roommate? Financially, I had no choice. Neil and I were intimate, but not ready to live together.
What could I do? The parade of roommates flashed before my eyes. Emma… Kim… Lili… Callie… Betsy… Melissa… Melanie… Angela… Yuki… Leila… Veronika… Akari….Bess… So, I did what any New Yorker would do. I played Lotto and won.