Therapy of Sorts

Another night, another heart break – it felt like a recurring situation that had gotten me nowhere so far.
Like the amazing friends that they were, they stood firm through it all and came to me with our ritualistic solution.
“It’s time”, Jo said. I nodded.
Anna got the car keys, while the rest dressed me up. It was tough to get back outside and face it but, it was time to be happy again, or at least pretend to be.
Taking my wallet, my phone, my keys, and an extra lip colour just in case, we got into the car and off we drove. We played songs in the car and made our best attempt to karaoke an opera.
Finally, I could see it. It was buzzing; we rushed out of the car and made our way in. The lights, the smell, the people, I could already feel myself getting alright again. I took to the floor as I heard the music.
We sat around a table while my friend brought a bunch of drinks to the table. It had been so long, I was thrilled. I could feel the drinks hit me and relieve me almost instantly. I felt happy, hyper even. We sang along and clicked photos as we munched on the bits and I tried to keep my lip colour in place.
I loved it!
Finally, when it had gotten late enough, we collected our things and staggered and stuttered across the room. There came a voice behind us – “Thank you for coming!”
We looked back at our table which was lined with smoothies and empty burger boxes, and yelled back – “Have a good night!”
McDonald’s had always proven to be the best therapy.

 

Light It Up

I sat there staring straight into the light that shone over my nose. I gestured my hands against the light to watch the unkempt waves take over my floor. If only I could capture it, not just in my vision – but in a Polaroid? I heard the doorbell which disrupted my flow of thought – ‘Are you ready?’

I jumped off the parapet, ran out the door and down the stairs. ‘Yes, let’s go’, I said half-panting and just as drowsy. My friend Jo and I had engaged in a spontaneous plan to visit this new ethereal cafe nearby – it was her idea. Apparently, she had made a contribution to the cafe that she wanted me to know about. The idea of it was undoubtedly spooky, but it was intriguing.

I grabbed my wallet and slipped into my converse shoes. She drove us there in her rented mini-van that smelled kind of funny. The cafe was smothered with what looked like tiny fireflies in the dark. ‘Beautiful’, I thought to myself.

As we sat down, she hurriedly told me that she had to confess something. I was bemused, definitely not prepared for it. I shuffled on my seat and tried to maintain a blank expression.

We ordered some shrimp popcorn to start with. As I was about to place an order for a cold coffee, she broke off –

“It had become a habit. I had to give it up. Everyone was worried about me. But, it was just so inviting”, she said with an air of guilt. I stared at her wondering whether she has happily contributed drugs to this cafe, because I wanted to make a run for it right then.

“They would make me feel so lost and so happy at the same time. Nothing had had the power of the sort before. I started stocking them so that I never run out of them. I would lie down among them every night as I went to sleep.”

I nodded to try to cover the fact that I was practicing a sprint back home in my head.

“I saw it everywhere, Li. In pictures, in videos, in cafes like these! I had to have them. I became obsessed”, she exclaimed throwing her hands into the air. I tripped during my mental sprint right then, ‘in cafes like these’?

I mustered up the courage to ask her “What are you talking about?” She looked me dead in the eye, looked around as if scanning the cafe, breathed and whispered “Fairy lights”.

While she looked scandalized, my face relaxed instantly and she saw it. I looked around with a horrifying grin, and realized that those very strings of fireflies were one of the many kinds of fairy lights Jo had stocked up to satisfy her addiction. She looked at me, I smiled – wider than usual.

I knew where to give away mine now.