Part 1 of The Sitting Series
When I walked into the 7-11 on 3rd Avenue, I nodded at the homeless man standing by the front door while thinking to myself, act normal. Preoccupied with whatever was in his trash bag though, he didn’t return the nod my way. This was fine though, because I had already done my part in pretending to be a functioning human being. When we, meaning myself, my brother Rene and our closest friend Erron walked past the register, I wanted to act as casual as possible so when I nodded at the cashier, I added a tip of the hat motion to assure him I was one of the good ones. I was not wearing a hat. and neither was he. I guess it makes sense that he didn’t tip an imaginary hat back at me but instead looked at us with confusion and growing suspicion. He had nothing to worry about. All I had to do was remind myself that everything was under control.
Reflecting on the time of night we walked in (around 11 P.M), and the fact that we probably looked like aliens trying to be discreet about being zonked out of our minds, I don’t blame the cashier for his suspicions. We were high on acid and by the time we got to the refrigerator with all the bottles of water in it, all we could do is stare at them and laugh. I thought to myself, Wow, that one says Poland, that one says Arrowhead, that one says Fiji and that one says it’s Icelandic. There is water from all over the world right in front of me, and we’ve somehow made it to this same 7-11 at the same exact time.
When I opened my mouth to verbalize that though, all that came out was,
“that’s a lot of water.”
Erron, God bless him, responded to me like a father responds to a child’s observations by saying,
“Yes, it is a lot of water.”
We laughed, trying to be quiet about it but really being obnoxiously loud.
When we got to the register I stood behind Rene and Erron with the goal of keeping myself as far away from the cashier as possible. For me, it was okay if he thought Rene and Erron were out of their minds but I wanted to stand out in the group as the one that was calm and collected.
From the background I watched Rene and Erron fiddling around in their pockets to pay for everything. It did occur to me to look in my own pockets but I decided against it, still trying to keep my cool. Thinking about it now, I was the least normal in the group, standing in the background like a statue, relentlessly staring at the cashier with saucer like pupils.
When everything was said and done, Erron and Rene walked away from the register with everything in hand. I trailed behind and thought, I did it. I kept everything under control and acting like a perfectly normal-
It was the cashier. There was an empty bottle of water on the register and he told me to get rid of it and not leave our trash behind. He looked at me like he hated me; he talked like it too. When I picked up the bottle, unsure of what to do, we stared at each other for a while. He stared at me with nothing but contempt and I stared at him with a look that said, I am so sorry. I have failed you and I have failed myself.
It really wasn’t that deep at all but in that moment, I had failed to keep control. And that was the thing about it all, not just the 10 minutes in that 7-11 but also the night that would follow it; all I wanted was to be in control. I’d find out though, that control sometimes can’t be afforded to everyone, and when it isn’t all we can do is accept that. That realization wouldn’t come for another couple hours though, and the night was just starting. When we got back to our hotel room I sat down and looked at everyone, unsure of where to go from there.
It was at that moment that it happened; my phone vibrated. I picked it up and read the text. I read it one more time, and then another time, and another time after that. I didn’t say it out loud but I was sure at that moment in time that I had just received a text from the future…