In the shadows of my modest two-bed one-bath basement suite, a devilish figure lurks, plotting, waiting to strike. 

I tiptoe. I hold my breath, and the silence is punctuated by only the dripping of our notoriously leaky faucet. Never did I ever think I’d live with such a beast, and upon no reader of this fearful tale do I wish this horrid fate. 

This tale starts late one cold October night, when the air has turned ghostly enough to freeze fingertips too numb to pry Compass cards from nearly empty wallets. A long day of school passes. The horrors persist. 

My only solace at that time was, you see, the promise of returning to a welcoming home — a TV filled with Netflix originals, a fridge filled with Thanksgiving leftovers. Every monster seems lovely until the beast is revealed. The packed 49. Damp shoes. A sidewalk with one too many large puddles and no way to avoid soaking the toes of your socks. 

I open the front door and am met with the warm embrace of mildewy air. Beats the outside. The soft sounds of Ye (formerly Kanye West) filter from my roommate’s door — in hindsight, this should have been a sign. 

Dirty dishes in the sink. A usual occurrence. Alas, I must choose my battles. 

I sigh, shedding my raincoat skin like a moth freed from cocoon. To the fridge I head, seeking the only comfort this pale life offers me. 

The fridge door swings open at my touch. My heart races. One. Two. Three. Not even my yoga instructor’s breathing exercise can calm the pounding in my chest. I squeeze my eyes shut as claws of dread wrap themselves around my throat. It needs to be there. There’s no reason for it to be gone. My head feels light. The fluorescent kitchen lights flicker.

This is the only thing I care about. The only thing that can make things right. 

A molding orange, half-empty ketchup, and…

Empty. Tupperware. Containers.