Rental diaries, vol. 4

Rental diaries, vol. 4

Tue 05 Sep 2017 4:00 PM

For Daniel, details of {a person named} Florence’s relationship with James were hazy prior to the whole group’s arrival in {a city named} Florence.

Florence and Daniel had never met in person, but had arranged to split rent in a quasi-quadrilocale on sdrucciolo de’ Pitti. Daniel was arriving from New Mexico for research. Florence had, for some time, been living in Florence, but was vacationing with James just before the new flat opened up.

Ciao, James and I’ve landed! See you soon, read her text to Daniel on move-in day.

This James character suddenly kept cropping up. Daniel didn’t know Florence-the-person; deciding to live with her in Florence-the-city was already a gamble. She should still be in the Best-Flatmate-Foot-Forward period: why hadn’t she mentioned a boyfriend? A lease leech, Daniel thought.

The irritation passed once some itinerary hiccups demanded Daniel’s full attention. He would be arriving later than anticipated.

When he relayed the news to Florence, she seemed flexible. So did James, sort of: We’ll wait up! James is so excited he’s jumping on the bed.

Daniel tried to remember the terms for getting his deposit back.

A few hours later, his phone lit up again: Sorry, I’m exhausted, going to bed. James is on the couch, but please lock him in the kitchen once you arrive.

Squinting, Daniel read it a second time. Then a third. A swift follow-up message appeared before he could summon a polite way to ask what the hell this relationship was.

Don’t worry, his litterbox is in there.





Rental Diaries column by Mary Gray is now a book, buy it directly or on



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