Jordan reached into the chest pocket of his jacket and pulled out a neatly rolled joint. He reached in again and out came a yellow Bic lighter. He was sitting to my left, and he looked devastatingly cute, his long brown hair hanging in a wave over one side of his face, the joint now jutting from his lips, ready to be lit. Butterflies arced and dove in the pit of my stomach.
Jordan flicked the lighter with his thumb and touched the flame to the joint taking a big pull. He then looked over at me with a closed mouth smile- and a few seconds later let trails of smoke slowly out of his nostrils and then his mouth. He said ‘Aaaaah’, dreamy eyed, as he handed me the joint. I took the joint from his hand, sparks flying when his fingers touched mine. I lifted the joint and took a hit. Immediately I felt the weight of the smoke in my lungs, and the heaviness of the buzz as it took hold. I pictured smoky tendrils rising inside my head, sharp but swaying- like seaweed, or the Grinch’s fingers, branching off to the right, left and center, surrounding my brain like a S.W.A.T team about to bust down the doors and storm in. I handed the joint back to Jordan, pulling my sweater tight against my chest like a blanket, as I was suddenly shivering in the cold, but also because I was starting to feel self-conscious. I began thinking only negative thoughts: I could never get a guy like Jordan because he was too fine, and I was -well- need a list? Too tall, too fat, too average, too boring. The S.W.A.T team had obviously gained entry. I was sure my thoughts were spot on when Jordan began to talk.
“I have a girlfriend. We’ve been going out for two years…..She’s pretty cool” he said casually.
Wonderful! That makes me effing ecstatic! I think.
”Really?…That’s cool” I say, ever quick to hide any real emotion. Now I just wanted to go home. I know it’ll keep getting worse the more I smoke, but I will continue puffing on the joint, as if it’s the most natural thing in the world. We keep smoking, until I’m so stoned I start to feel confused. I think about the homework I haven’t done, and wonder if the school had called because I skipped first period again to hang out at the luncheonette, drinking coffee with Tara and Renee. I didn’t plan on skipping class, but by the time I looked up at the clock it was too late to go. I knew my father and Faye would be interrogating me at the dinner table tonight, where I could either lie or fess up about skipping, but either way it’d turn into drama. (and who am I kidding? Of coarse I’m gonna lie!) I thought about the dismal weather, and my boring hometown. I wished I could just run off to Wales and live in a stone-castle with turrets, as the wife of Robert Plant, which was really where I belonged. Jordan was cute but taken, and being around him was a tease that only made me feel worse. Why couldn’t I be more….special?
Suddenly I’m jolted out of my trance as Jordan waves his hand back and forth in front of my face. Startled, I jump a little and Jordan laughs. With his stupid, foxy smile. And gorgeous ‘spoken-for’ eyes. And those girly lashes!
“What are you doing?” he asked, bright white smile. “Zoning?”
“Yeah…I guess” I said, then: “Welp! I guess we should get going!” It was starting to get dark, even though it was only about five o’clock. Gotta love the winter.
“Right?” Jordan said, both statement and question. His voice was deep and smooth, the kind that would sound cute even over the phone. We both stood up and made our way down the stairs and out of the empty house. We walked back the same way we came, only this time, we were stoned out of our minds. Walking ahead of Jordan, I didn’t even try to hold off the bushes- I dared them to rip my sweater- it was ugly anyway! It was raining lightly, the whole scene a study in dampness and gray. Jordan made some conversation- how happy he seemed!-but I was feeling very self-conscious at this point and inadequate, and for some reason wanted to get home and brush my hair in the worst way. I picked up the pace. Jordan kept up with me though, making eye contact and smiling (‘swoon!) but I twisted it around in my mind insisting to myself that he was comparing me to his girlfriend, and I wanted to say: “Look Away! I’m hideous!”
When we get to Deer Run Court, we walk towards our respective houses, in the middle of the lightly traveled cul-de-sac. When was he going to veer off and go left, towards his driveway? Finally I said “Well, thanks for that!” and threw my hand up in a quick wave, walking to the right,and down my driveway without looking back.
“Hey! Maybe we can do this again next week!” Jordan called after me. I just nodded and continued the beeline to the open garage and the door that led to the rec room. Faye’s Grand Prix was parked in the garage, so she had arrived home. It felt oven warm when I entered the house after being out in the cold for so long. My Dad wasn’t home yet, but I could hear Faye fiddling with pots and pans upstairs, and my brothers chattering in the kitchen. I walked to my downstairs room, closed and locked the door, grabbing my hairbrush off of the desk. Then I sat down at the vanity and brushed my hair while staring into the mirror. I both liked and hated what I saw. I sat there for a long time, under a cloud of depression, feeling like I was stuck in deep, deep quicksand, and knowing there was no one who could pull me out.