chapter eight-Alex

WoW was his life. World of Warcraft, all day, every day. He'd been good at it from the start, a natural. He built a reputation for himself. He made himself important. Players respected him and looked up to him.

His roommate thought he was a slob. Karen liked gaming. That's how she met Alex, at a local tournament for gamers. Alex won the field and won her heart. She tried getting him to date. When that didn't work, she took his offer for a roommate. He had a rental house. His parents paid half and he was supposed to pay the other. He brought her on to pay that half. She was too in love to notice.

That had changed. Karen came home from work. She worked night shift at Walmart nearby. She was miserable, exhausted, and her eyes glazed over. All she wanted was to collapse.

But the house was disgusting. Alex left his room a few times a day. He had a collection jar for pee, a small fridge for drinks, and a shelf for snacks. The kitchen was a once a day trip. This particular day, he destroyed it.

Karen was furious. Mostly she was just fed up. Working retail was already soul-sucking. Coming home to squalor was almost worse, almost. Karen couldn't pick her job, but she could pick her home.

Her feelings for Alex ended when she started seeing this mess. She saw him for who he was, an addict. WoW, all day and night. He'd even pissed himself while he slept a few times. Sleep and bathroom breaks weren't on the agenda, only gaming. She hated it. Gaming was supposed to be a hobby, not an obsession.

She'd tried to get through to him. He ignored her. She tried to look past it. Rent was cheap here, better than her crumby apartment. Coming home to this? It was no longer worth it.

Karen loudly threw her shit into bags. Alex complained about the noise. Karen told him to fuck off. She finished packing and threw her shit in the car. Then she came back inside. Alex was in the zone. She could tell by the look in his eye. She didn't even exist.

She had to try though. "I'm leaving," she called to him. Loud and stern, she told him again. He ignored her.

Karen sighed, "Fine, be like that. Goodbye, Alex. Lose my number."

Suddenly she was there again. For the wrong reasons, "Did you bring any food?"

"Nope, and I never will again. I'm gone, Alex. You're a fucking slob! You destroy the house and expect me to take care of it, expect me to take care of you. Well I'm fucking done!" Karen screamed. She stormed out of the house.

Alex listened. Karen burned rubber out of the neighborhood. He didn't know where she was going. He didn't care. He was in the middle of a campaign. It wasn't going well either. He was too hungry to think, too hungry to keep going. He hadn't eaten since breakfast yesterday.

Karen also distracted him. The house suddenly felt empty. Alex realized he was alone...until his teammates got back to chatting. He felt the connection then. He had something to turn to. He had friends, had socialization. He had a life, and he never wanted to give it up.