(This is an excerpt from my book. I don’t have a name for it yet. And please excuse my weird sense of humor. I am still working on it.)
The memory was so vivid in her head. She picked up her phone again…19 messages. She was not ready to face the world.
“Leave me alone,” she screamed and threw her phone into the lonely bedroom wall breaking it into pieces. Sleep took over and took her pain away for a few hours. The faint smell of aftershave finally gave her peace.
Knock Knock. Knock knock knock. Bang bang bang bang thump.
She jumped up to look at the clock, 3:43 am. She thought she was imagining the banging and thumping.
BANG BANG BANG BANG. She was startled. She walked towards the door.
A voice responded angrily, “Elina…Elina? Open the damn door. What is wrong with you? You can’t text me back? Did you lose your phone? I thought something happened to you…maybe you fell off a bridge. Got eaten by a bear.”
Elina was groggy, “Sorry..sorry.”
She opened the door and was met with a compassionate embrace.
“Baby, I heard. I am so so sorry. I heard about him.”
“I just wanted to be alone for a bit, Tifa. I wasn’t ready to talk about it. I thought it was one bad dream. Like, one bad episode of ER in my head.”
Tifa let her go. “Ok, ok. I have to get to work. I will drop by. Please PLEASE, answer your phone.”
Reality set in, “I remember throwing it somewhere.” She scoured the room and found bits and pieces of her phone strung all over the floor.
“Well, Incredible Hulk, we will have to get you a new phone too.”
“And really, Tifa? Eaten by a bear?”
Tifa laughed, “I don’t know, you know how my mind gets. I worry and it goes haywire.”
Elina watched her friend walk down her hallway stairs. She sat back down on her bed.
“____, what now? What do I do now?”
Conner walked into the crowded auditorium and looked at the room filled with gray folding chairs. He spotted one in the corner and made his way in that direction. He sat down and pulled out a notebook. He didn’t belong there. He watched as someone walked toward the podium at the front of the room. The man walked with a noticeable limp. He turned to scan the crowd.
“I just wanted to thank you all for coming. I know it is hard coming to things like this. But, the process is long but rewarding. If it’s your first time, please don’t be shy. You don’t have to speak up here if you don’t want to. Just imagine everyone here is naked. That’s what I do. Actually, sir….sir back there. Do you have a shirt? Please put it on.”
Connor looked in the direction of the shirtless man.
He could hear a smattering of giggles in the crowd.
“Sorry, I forgot mine. I thought we were supposed to be comfortable.” The embarrassed man walked slowly out of the auditorium.
“Apparently, someone had some drugs before they came to the meeting. What was that guy smoking?” Connor said out loud. He laughed and was met with silence. He turned red.
The man with the limp was not happy.
“Marijuana, sir. That man was smoking marijuana. Marijuana is a serious drug. It is not to be joked about. Here at Marijuana Anonymous, we don’t take jokes lightly.”
Connor was beside himself, “This is Marijuana Anonymous? You actually have meetings for marijuana?” He got up to walk away. He struggled trying to get through his row. He exited through the double doors.
He pulled out his phone, found his friend’s number and pushed the call icon.
“You….are…a…jerk. A Marijuana Anonymous meeting? You told me this was a PTO meeting. You know I take this parent/teacher stuff serious. Why would you do that?”
Hysterical laughter filled his eardrums.
“Sorry man, I had to. That’s what you get for that little shenanigan you pulled on me last week.”
“Shenanigan? What? The girl I set you up with? She was nice…what was wrong with her, Josh?”
“She was nice. But, she had a unibrow. I kept staring at it the whole night. It was talking to me. She didn’t have two eyebrows like every normal human being. Even giraffes have eyebrows. She had one freakin’ brow. It was taunting me. I wanted to pull out a razor and shave it myself.”
Connor chuckled, “It wasn’t that bad. Besides some cultures respect the unibrow. It’s seen as a symbol of royalty and wisdom. Besides, I thought you would look past all that and notice her refreshing personality and quick wit.”
Josh replied, “Oh yeah? What culture is that? Not mine apparently. Refreshing personality and quick wit? It sounds like you are describing me. I’m not trying to date myself. Whatever man, how did you find out it was a Marijuana Anonymous meeting?”
“The shirtless guy gave it away,” Connor countered.
“He still does that?,” Josh said.
“You know the shirtless guy?” Connor questioned.
“Of course…that’s my Uncle Clarence. How else did I know about the meeting?”
The solitary laugher got up during intermission. She thought about the “shirtless man” fiasco and it made her smile. It was the first time she had smiled in 24 hours. She didn’t belong in this meeting either. She felt she needed to be a part of something without having to be a “part” of something. She needed to feel alive. Her mind was still clouded with sadness and laughter. She walked to the back of the room to the refreshment table. She scanned the table looking for the one thing she was craving…chocolate. She cycled through random conversation after conversation. She looked up at the mechanical clock on the wall. She was late. She thought to herself:
“Tifa is going to kill me.”