About a year later, I ran into the same roommate at an event and we chatted briefly, and he apologized for not having sent me the security deposit and promised that he would get back on the ball about it. I was surprised, but gratified, but, again, didn't hold my breath. The landlady was a serious flake, and I hadn't been involved in the original lease, so I had given my security deposit to the roommate, so I didn't have the paperwork to take the landlady to court, despite my expertise in that realm (ask me for that story in person sometime), and I just figured it was a loss.
Years passed. Then this morning, I received an email out of the blue from the same roommate, apologizing again, saying he'd given up on getting the deposit back from the landlady but that he wanted to make things right by me and could he send me a check? Whoa! Like a tax refund, this is my money, but it feels like free money. But it also doesn't feel right to have him lose the whole deposit, even if he was the one who was in charge of keeping track and tracking it down. I counteroffered that half seemed reasonable, and he agreed.
Life is surprising and wonderful. I always liked this guy, and this somehow refreshes my (already strong) faith in the goodness of most people.