I kept hearing that damned song in my head. “Momma told me not to come!” That thing kept echoing round inside my skull, which didn’t make what I was doing any easier. My rational, logical side said, “Momma didn’t ever say such a thing.” Didn’t help at all. That song kept playing over and over.
‘Course, it could be the silly thing was stuck in my head ‘cause I was thinking, “I shouldn’t be here,” and “I’m fucking miserable.”
I felt like some mobster in a gray pinstriped suit, with a matching gray hat, and a bulge under his left arm was next to me, saying, “You got no business here, kid. Leave. While you still can.”
It didn’t really matter what was going on in my screwed up head. I was there. And God Damn-it, I wasn’t going to be the first person to say, “I gotta go.” I’d have walked barefoot on fresh lava before I did that.
Once, I’d have found my way to a corner and hid. Or found a clear path along a wall, and paced back and forth like one of those cartoon characters that wears a hole in the ground. But I’d learned I had to mix in to learn new things, so I found a table with people at it, and sat down.
Which was terrifying. I had to keep my hands on the table top to keep them from shaking. I could have moved them, but they’d have have shook like the tines on fucking tuning forks. I could almost hear them making tuning fork sounds. “Tiiiiiiiiiing!” and “Taaaaaaaaang!” So, I kept my hands on the table and told myself, “Try not to push your hands through the fucking table top.”
I toughed it out, and watched people talk. Watched them drink beer. You know, that shit that tastes like the water left in the sink after you wash the dishes? And they were drowning themselves in it, like it was Diet Coke or something. They kept offering me drinks, “You’re supposed to relax, and have fun!”
“But beer tastes awful to me.”
I’d learned to observe normal people. How they behave. How they react to each other. When they laugh, when they get angry. I learned enough to kinda fit in. I had to sit there to learn more, and get better at blending in.
It sucked to sit there, watching, and at the same time laughing, or smiling, when appropriate. It’s about the hardest thing I do. I knew it would take hours to wind down when I got home. I’d try to explain how it felt, but you either understand, or you don’t. And I fucking hope you don’t. Let’s just say it sucks donkey balls and leave it at that.
I hoped I’d survive the stress long enough to get out of there. But until someone else left, I was stuck listening to Three Dog Night belting out, “Momma told me not to come.”
This is my entry into #FlashMobWrites 1×27, hosted by Ruth Long and Cara Michaels. Please, go read all the stories in for #FlashMobWrites 1×27. You might find something you like. But if you don’t read them, how will you ever know?