4am Train Love

Nothing normal ever happens during 4 am train rides, especially when you’re pissed drunk.

I had been visiting old friends of mine in Jersey and during this visit we decided to head to Philly for a night of fun. We didn’t wait to get to the city to start the festivities. No. We pre-gamed  at the house, then of course we took some adult beverages hidden within water bottles with us for the train ride.

The night was going to a wild one. There were about 8 of us all together and just by the train ride to the city alone I knew there was to be debauchery in abundance.

We got to Las Vegas Lounge, a dingy, dark and smelly hole in the wall (just my kind of place) and immediately assigned ourselves roles for the night. A few of us crowded the jukebox. They were to be the Djs for the night, there was no way anybody but us were going to be regulating the music for the night. The guys went over and quickly put tables and chairs together, making sure we had plenty of room for all of us to hang together. My home girl and I went straight to the bar. It was time to open a proper tab, Irish car bombs for everyone!

The rest of the night was a hectic haze of bad singing, inappropriate dancing and socially inappropriate jokes. We were raunchy and wild and as we closed the bar down that night we made memories that by the morning we’d forget. We tumbled out of that bar drunkenly disoriented, not caring that most of the world around us had been asleep now for hours. We made our way back to the train station. We may have even gotten a little lost at one point, I don’t know.

There weren’t many of us that were waiting for the train that night. Not including our group there were maybe another 10-15 people? Most looked drunk, the rest had seemed to be either getting out of or going into work. I’m not sure how long we had waited but it hadn’t seemed long.

The train soon arrived and while we all tripped over one another to pile in I caught sight of a cutie already sitting… all.. by.. himself. Well HELLO there!! I thought to myself.  I pushed my way through my friends and made my way to where he was sitting. Once I got close I slowed down as to not give away my hurry.

“Hey, anyone sitting here?” I grin. It may have been a creepy drunk grin. That’s what it felt like so I was surprised when he said, “No, it’s all yours.” BINGO! That’s RIGHT! It is. I sat down next to him and immediately it began,

“OOOOOOOoooooOOOOO Nati…. MeeeeeOOOWWW!” My pals all chimed in in uproar.

“Don’t listen to them. They’re drunk.” I slurred and then smiled.

“…and you’re not?” He asked, jokingly.

“I was. But now I see things crystal clear.” I hiccuped, “We were meant to meet tonight. The universe brought us here on this train to meet..” What the eff was I saying? I was laughing. I was drunk and this was stupid drunk talk. He knew it too because he was laughing. Was it with me or at me? I didn’t know.

We eventually got to our stop, which also so happened to be his. He walked with us until we got to the car where I then scribbled down my number without him even having to ask. “I normally don’t do this but here!! Call me!!” and I folded up the paper and stuffed it in his pocket. We gave each other a hug, an “it was nice meeting you” kiss on the cheek, and off we were.

038-2 Photo Credit: Angie M, Muse: Natal Galvan, Ry Bread, Santi C.

He messaged me that very night asking if we got home OK. From that point on we kept the conversation going until one of us passed out and then restarted it the very next day. It went like this for months. We spoke on the phone almost every night and spent the entire day texting each other. At the time that we met, I was living here in FL and had only been visiting. Still that didn’t deter us from building a good friendship. Then one day he calls me and says how he would love to take a vacation down to where I was for just a couple days. I loved the idea. I never had friends come and visit me really so I was all for it. Plus, I had found him super cute from what I could remember and decipher from the picture texts he sent me here and there. Who knows what this could lead to right?A romance story out of a movie! I was so excited. That was until, he called me to tell me he had booked his trip…and it was for five days.

Was I freaking out? Of course I was! Like seriously? FIVE DAYS? What were we supposed to do for five days? The trip was to be taken in 2 months so I had 60 days to mentally prepare. When the time came, it was only then that I realized, 60 days had still not been enough.

He arrived on Monday and left Friday. These were the longest five days of my life, and most likely of his as well. Monday hadn’t been too bad. The excitement of seeing one another for the second time since we met was still there. He arrived late in the day so after our initial greet at the airport we headed to a bar to have some food and drinks. The plan was to head to Orlando the next day and have a day of fun at the amusement parks. So we spent some time at the bar and once we saw it was getting late we headed back to my place to rest up for the following day.

I’d like to give a shout out to my amazing sister. For if she hadn’t accepted the invitation to be the third wheel on our trip to Orlando (actually through out the entire 5 days), this day of fun at the amusement park would have been instead the most awkward day at the park. She helped fill in moments of awkward silence. She made me laugh when all I wanted to do was rip my eyeballs out and stuff them down my own throat for allowing this to happen.

He was not only not much of a talker, but also didn’t have much opinion on, well, ANYTHING. He was plainer than vanilla ice cream for even vanilla ice cream had it’s own bit of flare. I would say he was like a piece of grilled chicken with absolutely no seasoning on it, as if just boiled in water. Every answer to any of my questions was either “I don’t know” or “up to you.” Whether it was “what ride do you feel like riding next?” or “what do you want to eat?” or….. fucking ANYTHING, those were his only two answers. It was only day two and I was ready to shoot myself. When would he be leaving on Friday? Early?? Please lord, I hope it’s early…. This was my inner dialogue the entire day at the park.

Wednesday we got up and headed to the grocery store. I planned a beach day but after much debate on whether or not he wanted to deal with the sand or not, we decided to make it a pool day instead. We were going to need food and cocktails (for me mainly cocktails). After what seemed like forever at the store (it takes longer to make grocery store decisions alone for three people than it is for one), we arrived back home with sandwiches, chips and other snacks, and of course beer. It only took about two hours and half a case of beer for things to slowly lighten up a bit. But even then it was like pulling teeth to get this guy to loosen up and have a good time. He spent the majority of his time complaining about life even though he was in FL and supposedly on vacation. He was tired. He hated the sun. He couldn’t get good signal so that he could listen to his sports podcast. So I did what I do best and that is that I just kept drinking. Fuck it right?

I keep drinking, I begin to tune out his presence. It’s not like he was saying much so it wasn’t his conversation I was tuning out, it was him in general. I fell asleep for a bit and when I came to, my gaze had fallen onto his foot. There on his big toe he had a band aid wrapped around the nail. “What happened to your toe?” I had assumed that maybe it had happened while I was asleep. I hadn’t noticed it before.

“Nothing. I stubbed my toe a few months ago and I’m still suffering from it. That’s why I have been so iffy about getting in the water.” It made sense. We had been there for hours and he hadn’t taken a dip yet. His normal pale Irish skin was blotchy and red. He was sweating like a whore in church.

He eventually did get in the water. I did a cannon ball on him. We wrestled for a second. That was the extent of the excitement for that day. I don’t know if it was the beer that got him feeling ballsy but he ended up kissing me right before we got out the water. It was like I expected. Bland. Yes, he had taken the step to kiss me but that was all he did. Have you ever tried to kiss a person who doesn’t know how to kiss back?? It’s awkward. You feel like saying,”Don’t just sit there. Do something.” I pull away and he goes, “I’ve been waiting for that.” with a smile. I don’t know why but that turned me off more than the kiss.

We got back to the house and to be honest the rest of the evening is a little foggy. I know we ended up going to bed, together. As in, in my bed we both slept in. I remember him trying to make out with me, but uh uh. I was not having it. I had had enough bad kissing for the day, so I stayed as far left on my bed as I possibly could until the sun came up, alleviating me from this awkward situation.

Thursday. One more day. It was my mantra for the day. Could he tell how I felt? If he did, he hadn’t let on. Anything that I had to do on this day I tried to do as slow as possible in order for it to take up as much time as possible. I wanted tomorrow to get here and quick. I made us some breakfast. I did laundry. I cleaned my apartment that looked like a tornado had just hit. All the while this guy just sat on my couch just watching t.v not once even asking to see if he could help with anything. Not that I would have let him, but still the gesture would have been nice. I mean most of the mess around my apartment was mess HE made, but whatever. I spent the day running between my sisters room and down to the living room, her room being like a “time-out” from his nothingness. “I just don’t know what to do. This is terribly awkward. I just hate this. I can’t wait for him to leave..” I would tell her.

The three of us headed out to dinner that night. He had spent the last four days hating any of the food we had cooked or ordered. He was a super picky eater. He hated veggies and fruits. He couldn’t handle any sort of seasoning (go figure) because either he didn’t like the taste or it upset his stomach. I of course hadn’t known any of this and therefore had spent the entire week making bad choices due to this lack of knowledge. It hadn’t been until the night before when he was drunk by the pool that he let me in on his eating habits. I found his lack of communication extremely frustrating but had agreed that the next night we would go somewhere to eat more his style. We all decided on going to a little Irish bar not far from my house.

We had quite a bit to drink before ordering our food. The time between ordering and waiting for the food to arrive, my sister and I spent goofing around. He would laugh but not really participate much in the conversation. Our food came and we dined.

As we paid the bill he began to speak of how much fun he had while visiting. He described how awesome it was to have met me that night on the train and that he could really see this working out. That’s when things got a bit more awkward. It was obvious that I didn’t feel the same and once he realized the feeling wasn’t mutual he shut down completely. He barely spoke two words to me for the rest of the night (which I was already used to) and as soon as we arrived back to the apartment he began packing up his things and set up for his getting ready in the morning. There was a slight inner relief I felt once I saw him packing up his things. It was almost a reminder that this “situation” wasn’t permanent.

He slept on the couch that night and the next day we both were up early both ready for this to be over. To be honest, I don’t know what time his flight was that day. I hadn’t really asked. All I know is that once we were both ready, I drove him to the airport. I didn’t do my usual “parking in the garage and walking the person to security” deal that I normally do when people visit. I just drove up the curb and dropped him off with a hug good-bye and a “I’ll text ya later.”

The most horrible part of his entire stay at my place didn’t even happen while he was visiting. Or shall I be clear and say that it did happen while he visited but I was unaware of it until days after his departure.

I had smelled a funny odor coming from my bed sheets and although I had just washed them right before my guest’s arrival,  I decided to wash them again. When I pulled off the sheets to my bed the smell was horrid. Had something died in there? I began peeling apart all the sheets and blankets, the smell becoming more and more pungent.  That’s when I saw it. The band aid.

I swear I almost threw up. He had lost his dirty band aid in my sheets, leaving his exposed big toe out and obviously marinated my bed sheets with the funk. With my sister as my witness, I had to wash the bedding twice and even then the smell still lingered, leaving me with no other option than to toss them.

He and I never spoke again. I did try to reach out once. Honestly, I had just wanted him to return a few books I let him borrow. It was no surprise though when he didn’t respond. Sometimes, when something or someone triggers me to think of this memory, I laugh. I’m not sorry that it happened. I do wonder what he’s up to and if life is going good for him. I mean I don’t hate the guy one bit. I would have liked to have been friends but life doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes you just meet people for a small period of time. As if they’re tiny extras in your book of life but that hold enough punch to actually teach you something. This situation was a good lesson to be learned. Actually, I learned quite a few. Like, you don’t need five days to figure out whether or not two people click. I say three is good. The one, though, that I preach the most?  Nothing good ever happens after 4 am.

002-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Muse: Rich. R

Hank and the Pineapples

First off, a Message to Mom:

Mom…. I’m not sure if you read my blogs or not. I think you do and just don’t tell me.

That’s totally fine because I love that you do…

Just a fair warning, This one may disappoint you. Just remember this, I turned out totally fine.

Ok.. Well maybe not totally, but this had very little to do with it 😉

I Love You Woman!

Ok, Now with that said, let’s get back to business. 

The first time I smoked pot is as vivid in my mind as if it were happening right here, right now. One of those childhood memories you never forget but don’t often tell. I was with my friend Harold, who I had met at a school mate’s Barmitzvha in June right before school let out for the summer.

This was the summer before I was to start high school and at this point in my life I wasn’t really into doing much but reading, writing, and what I like to call “nerding” out. Harold was a cool kid for his time. Halfway through high school already, he had his own pick-up truck but since he lived close to my neck of the woods he would always ride his bike to my neighborhood, which for some reason I thought was super cool. We’d hang out with the kids from my hood and either play ball (football) or just shoot the shit until it was time to go home for dinner.

During this phase of my life, my grandparents were living with us to help my mother out with my sister and I. Momma bear was a single parent and so life wouldn’t be so overwhelming for her, my grandparents helped with the responsibilities of taking care of us as best they could. The rule when it came to hanging out with friends, no one was allowed inside the house unless Momma bear was home. We could go outside but had to stay where you could be seen unless you had permission to do otherwise.It was one random day during this summer break that Harold, who everybody but me called Hank, came over a bit earlier than normal. Hank never came by the house early. Like most boys his age, he usually slept in until at least noon. On this day, I remember thinking how odd it was that he had been over to my place so soon. I don’t remember the exact time but I do remember thinking there were still a few hours before mom got home.

My mom and my grandparents liked Hank. He was a nice kid who always showed them respect anytime he was around. Sometimes I think it was because although his parents were together there was not much love in that home and so secretly he liked to pretend our home was his home away from home.

We sat on my porch for a bit talking. I asked him why he was out and about so early. As he pulled out a pack of cigarettes from his pocket I noticed he was shaking a little. He went on to tell me about how his father and mother had gotten into a really bad fight. One he had to step into to protect his mother and instead got the brunt of his father’s aggression, so he decided to leave the house for the day. He opened the pack of cigarettes as he spoke and inside was a  lighter, a few cigarettes, and another little baggie but I couldn’t tell what was inside of it. He took out a cigarette and sparked it. It was only then that I noticed the bruising around his throat.

We spent some time talking. He did most of the talking and I most of the listening. Sometimes you just know when it’s best to be silent and so I was.

We had been sitting there in silence when my grandmother poked her head out and asked if I could do her a favor. She was going to be making some fresh cheese (that’s right!!! CHEESE.. mmm) and needed a few gallons of milk from the store.

“Since you’re with the Incredible Hulk, you both can go and he can help you carry them.” she giggled in Spanish. I found her comment funny too. Hank was thinner than any guy I had ever seen. If he stood sideways he literally who disappear. She handed me a few dollars and off we went, on foot, to buy us some milk.

As we walked, Hank pulled out another cigarette. He never smoked so many in a row so I chalked it up to him being stressed from the earlier altercation. This time when he opened the pack, the little baggie that was stored inside had fallen to his feet. He quickly picked it up and stuffed it back in the pack.

“What is that? I noticed it earlier.” I was inquisitive, I’ll admit to that. Most of you by this point would have already known what it was are at least had an idea. I was what you would call a late bloomer with a lot of stuff growing up. I literally had no clue.

“Nothing. It’s just a bag of pot I got earlier before I came here. I was gonna smoke it before I headed home tonight.” He said very matter-of-factly.

“As in weed??” I was stunned. Up until that point I had heard of weed but never had I really seen it before. Not in person anyways. “Let me seeeee!” I demanded.  He took the pack back out of his pocket, opened it up, and pulled out the baggie. Initially I laughed. I had never seen such a small zip lock bag before. I was astonished once I saw all the little Batman’s printed all over the bag. I fiddled with the zip lock, my fingers seeming to be too chubby to open it. Chubby or inexperienced, one of the two. He took the baggie from my hands, “You’re going to bust it open.” he laughed at me and then proceeded to open it up. The smell punched me hard in the face. I didn’t like it, but I did. It was a weird smell and yet I couldn’t stop taking in its scent.

By this point we had just come on the grocery store. It wasn’t far from where I lived and there was a trail in the back of the neighborhood that lead directly there without having to be anywhere close to the road. The trail led right up to the back of the store. Suddenly the idea struck me.

“I wanna smoke it!!!” I jumped, like literally jumped with enthusiasm. In my mind, why not?? It’s not like it was dangerous, or not that I had heard, and trust me, I had already been told many stories from friends who had already tried it (Yep imagine that… BEFORE entering high school kids were already smoking). The summer was in mid-swing. No classes therefore no homework. Mom wouldn’t be home for hours. It was now or never.

“What??!! No WAY!!! Are you kidding me?? We’re supossed to go and get milk and you want to get back high??! Are you crazy??….” He stared at me in bewilderment maybe waiting for an answer that I didn’t give him. “Yea you must be nuts. That or you are already high from the scent.” He must have forgotten that I was still holding the bag. I smirked.

“If you don’t let me smoke some with you…” He cut me off  by snatching the bag back from me. Damn it. He laughs.

“Listen, you wanna smoke some? Fine. But just one hit. That’s it. Then we go in, grab the milk, and head back. Ok?” Maybe it was the fact that he wanted to smoke too that he gave in so easily. Maybe it was because I have never looked so disappointed to have been told no. Either way it didn’t matter. I was getting to try the stuff all the cool kids talked about.

We found the perfect spot to smoke. Behind the grocery store, there was a set of stairs that sat right next to the loading ramp. Unless you were a store employee throwing out cardboard boxes out or there was a truck delivery to the store, no one would be out there to see us.

Hank and I sat ourselves at the very tippy top of the steps that lead to some random door. An emergency exit I’m sure. He pulled out a folded up piece of paper that he had in his back pocket. He opened the baggie that was still in his hands, and dumped the contents of it out on the paper. It was slightly breezy so I made sure to sit in a way to block the breeze from hitting him. He began breaking up the little nuggets and once he was finished, he took a cigarette from the pack, dumped out the tobacco and replaced it with the magical herb. Not all of it fit in the cigarette so he made sure to put the left overs back in the mini zip lock, then tucked that away into the cigarette pack. All of this took absolutely no time. I was so stunned at how little time it took for him to do all of that. It had been one of the coolest things I’d seen.

He sparked the spiked cigarette and inhaled an enormous hit, letting some of the smoke float out of his mouth and then taking it in through his nostrils before it slithered away. That had been the second coolest thing I had seen. I remember thinking he looked like a music video, but I kept that to myself.

He passed it to me. It was now my turn.

I had NEVER ever inhaled smoke before. Not purposely anyways. Sometimes when my family had holiday get togethers, the amount of cigarette smoke that lingered in the air was too much to not inhale. I remember I would always complain about my eyes getting too itchy and watery, but the grown ups were too busy partying that it didn’t matter. Eventually my eyes grew accustomed to it.

As he handed me the cigarette he makes sure to give me a run down on how to inhale.

“Go really slow. Your lungs aren’t used to this yet. And you’re going to cough, hard. It’s normal.” he almost looked worried.

I stared at the stick for a second. Then as the ash built into a long stick of its own, I took a slow drag.

Nothing. I exhaled and a little bit of smoke came out. There was no coughing and there was definitely no buzzing effect. He had said one hit, but who ever does one of anything honestly?? I took another drag. This time deeper and for longer. I felt a burning sensation deep within my chest and as soon as I felt it a HUGE cough escaped me, like flames bursting within a furnace. I thought I was going to suffocate. My eyes watered and my nose started to run. It took me a while to catch my breath and it was only then that I realized Hank was rubbing my back in an attempt to comfort me.

“I told you to only take one!” He said semi-authoritative, semi-jokingly.

“I *cough cough* know but…” I couldn’t even talk. It still felt like my eyes were rolling in the back of my head for some reason. Was this normal? Was that supposed to happen? What if I was that one case of overdosing on Mary Jane?? How tragic. I could see it now:

“Teen dies during summer break when trying Marijuana for the first time!” Fuck watching Reefer Madness. I was living it!

I would be that kid. The example. The one to ruin it for everybody.

“Dude, seriously are you even listening to me?” I came back. Hank had been saying something while I was busy freaking out over my death that hadn’t happened yet. “We need to  put this out and get to buying that milk. Your grandmother is probably wondering what is taking so long.” He was right. She probably was. But how was I supposed to go in the store and buy milk high like this? Was I even high?? I was sure I was. I hadn’t spoken a single word for what had seemed like forever and that was NOT normal. He took in one more big hit before putting it out. He tucked it back into the pack of cigarettes, which now I knew held contraband, and as soon as he placed it in his pocket and we stood up, a delivery truck appeared. He pulled i=onto the ramp towards the unloading area and looked up at us as we headed down the stairs. I was sure he was going to yell at us for being up there, it was just a matter of time. We descended the stairs quickly and as we walked past the truck I noticed huge pineapples on the side of it. Really it was one huge ad of produce. Fruits and veggies were all over this truck but the pineapples were what took a hold of my brain.

The truck driver continued to look at us but had said nothing. His eyes said it all, “You stupid kids shouldn’t be up there..” We just kept walking. I couldn’t take my gaze off of the pineapples. They were so big. They looked like they would have been nice and juicy too. I wanted to cut the tops off, take out the core, and crawl right in. I hadn’t noticed but I had started walking towards the truck. Towards the pineapples.

“Can I help you?” It wasn’t so much a question as it was a statement. A statement as to how weird I was acting, and of course, I couldn’t just respond with something normal. No. That would have been too smooth for my first experience of being high. I responded,

“Your pineapples look juicy.” in the weirdest voice I had ever heard my self speak in. In the background I heard Hank utter something but I couldn’t determine what. I steered away from the truck and away from its driver. I smiled to myself as I replayed in my mind what had just happened. At that moment I looked up and over to Hank and instantly we burst into laughter.

From that point until we reached the house, everything seems like a comical blur. I remember laughing at everything. At the store clerks and their customers, at the way I fumbled with my money when trying to pay for 6 gallons of milk. I mean seriously, who buys that much milk, especially two young kids such as ourselves?? I suspected, that everybody else suspected, that we were up to no good. That was fine with me. It just made everything else seem that much funnier. If only they knew granny was just making some cheese..

We eventually got back to the house with the milk delivered safe and sound.

No one ever suspected a thing. Hank left to deal with his hectic family life. My grandmother got to making her cheese without even a question as to what had taken so long. Maybe we actually hadn’t taken long. Or maybe my grandmother was now on old people time and had lost track. Who knows. My mother came home later on that day. By then I had taken a nap and was feeling only a little cloudy. To my disbelief my mother had stopped at the grocery store before coming home and within her bags of goodies? I am not lying to you, there were two pineapples in one of the bags. Scouts honor.

It would be YEARS before I touched the stuff again. This one time was enough for me. After some time Hank and I lost touch. It was maybe a year out of high school that I ran into him at a friend’s party. He looked awful, as in life had not been very good to him. It broke my heart. He was barely coherent and after just a few minuets of slurred chatter (mainly from his end) he disappeared. I found out later that night that he ended up driving home that night which angered me because anyone that was a true friend wouldn’t have let him drive under those conditions. Apparently he had gotten himself heavy into drugs which really explained his physical deterioration. I never heard of him since.

I think back to this memory and write about it with a big smile on my face. It was something I had gotten away with as a kid. Something that was innocently fun yet if found out about, would have gotten me into so much trouble. My first time smoking pot was a funny experience and I’m glad it happened with Hank. To this very day whenever I eat, see, or even smell pineapples, I think of this time. To me, that day, deep down inside it helped Hank to forget about home for a little bit, while also taking the chance to help me to break me out of my shell and experiencing something totally new in a non-malicious manner. It does make wonder though, how do some kids let themselves get so deep in to drugs of the heavy sort, while others can dab a little in the fun without falling in to the deep end.

This post is dedicated to you Hank 🙂 Hope all is good in the hood 😉

dscf0395-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan

 

 

An Unlocked Memory

I was watching the Skeleton Key alone in my room the other day.The memory that flooded back went a little something like this:

………The fuzzy, anorexic looking, eight-legged critter stood out against the rusty blue metallic mailbox. It seems as though it had been awaiting my arrival. Almost as if it knew that I would be dilly-dallying down that dirt road at that exact moment on that mid-morning day in July. The way I felt that very second, and as soon as the thought of a spider waiting “for my arrival” crept into my mind, I should have taken those as clear warning signs that the day wasn’t going to be an average one.

Standing off to the side of the random driveway, I stared at the spider, hoping to be making it uneasy with my gaze, when a tall woman with silky black skin walked out onto the porch. She planted herself firmly right above the first step, with both arms crossed across her chest.

“What chu’ want girl?” She yelled across the yard in a deep southern accent. I took notice in her colorful hair wrap, which matched her dress down to the very pattern stitched throughout the entire garment. “Just like a tribal woman,” I remember thinking to myself. To me, this woman had seemed very out of place. Being only 10 at the time, I had never seen a woman who looked like this. This was Jersey and I only saw ladies like her on the T.V so can you blame me when the only word that stumbled out of my mouth was “spider”? In the haze of my confusion, all I did was point to the spider while I slowly analyzed the situation. I mean was there a situation? Obviously not satisfied with my explanation on what I was doing on her property, she swiftly descended, the stairs crackling under her weight.

Taking off and leaving nothing more than a sandstorm behind me was what I wanted to do. My body, on the other hand, decided to stay put as if mesmerized with the movement of her dress flowing around her, making every step seem magical. It was as if she were merely hovering above the ground, floating towards me. As she quickly ate up the distance between us, my heartbeat picked up a little more speed and my finger tips frantically fiddled with the hem of my shorts, giving away at my uneasiness. She halted as she reached her mailbox. Her gaze was so fierce it sent a taste of bile into my mouth. Fearing that if I didn’t do or say any thing she might gobble me up with her piercing black eyes, I quickly pointed to the bait that had held me there and got me into this hairy situation. To  my amazement, the little bastard was trying to crawl away, as if saying “My job here is done.” Out of frustration I just wanted to launch it across the yard and almost as if reading my mind, the woman flicked it, sending the the little bug flying into oblivion.  Shock was clearly expressed on my face because although I wanted to flick that little shit myself, I wouldn’t have done it. She did. That kinda scared me.

“Where do ya live girl?” Her voice was gentle, almost as if she were purposely trying to sound that way. The look in her eyes was stone solid. Again left with nothing else, I pointed toward my apartment building. Suddenly I realized how far away from home, from safety, I was. Panic spread through my veins sending a shutter throughout my bloodstream, waves rocking me in what seemed like every direction. “I made homemade peach cobbla’ Would you like to try some?” She asked unexpectedly. The smell of homemade cobbler made its way to my nose as if on cue. Lucky for me I didn’t like peach cobbler, or peach anything for that matter. Finding the voice of reason and as well as my own, I blurted out, “No thank you. I don’t take things from people I don’t know.” Feeling victorious because I had done the right thing, I suddenly stood just a little taller, my chest out, and chin up. Then she said, “Well don’t cha know ya ain’t spose to talk to strangers either girl?”

With that, my white Nikes hit the dirty, pothole-infested road with such speed and agility not even a cheetah could have caught me. There was no way I was going to get caught up in the web of that woman. What if she knew voodoo?? What if that spider hadn’t been just a regular spider. What if it was a kid, just like me, that she tricked into having cobbler and then BAM!!! What if he had been trying to warn me? No wonder she flicked away!!

Reaching my destination before you could even blink twice, I ran up the steps, and into my home. I quickly kicked off my play clothes and hopped in the shower, letting the hot water wash away any traces of spell that could have been placed on me.

Weeks later, way after I put this whole traumatizing situation behind me, my mom and I were at our local grocery store. As we bypass the paper goods section and waltz into the cereal aisle, a familiar black shadow was standing at the far end right in front of the Cookie Crisp, my favorite cereal.

“Hello Sonia!!” My mother yells out in her accented English. “Come! Meet my daughter!” My mom rushes us over, pushing hard against my resistance. “This is my daughter! Nati, I work with her at Resorts!” I simply stood there shocked. Not only did I not care to even grab my favorite breakfast cereal anymore and so by default my mom would get Raisin Bran, but now I also had this scary lady’s eyes laughing at me, while her face stood still like as if this were the first time meeting me.

“Ma, I’ll be in the car.” And with that I turned and left feeling defeated, wishing to never see that woman again………

 

I never did see the “scary” lady again. Just yesterday I had asked my mother about her and she said I was crazy and hadn’t a clue of what I was talking about. The memory of this experience had been locked away until, ironically watching this movie. Funny the things our brain stores away and it only makes me wonder, what else have I up in this attic full of memories? What triggers will later expose other stories waiting to be relived? 

dscf0584-2  Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: Yoga Fest California