by Zosia Czarnecka
5:25 pm. I’m almost there. I can definitely make it in five minutes. But maybe I should go back home quickly. They won’t mind if I’m a little late, right? I’m just so worried that the glass casserole I placed on top of the fridge is going to slide off and break. I mean, the bottom is a little uneven and the fridge-top has this annoying curve to it so if it’s not perfectly centered it will definitely slide. Not that anyone is home… but someone could be home and then they would step on it and probably bleed to death. You can bleed to death from a glass shard in your foot, right? That’s a real danger. I’m not being irrational.
Okay. Now it’s 5:28 so I guess I should just cut my losses and go. I’ll probably have to buy a new casserole. How are you supposed to dress for these meetings? Do you follow the rule that you “dress for the part you want” – am I supposed to dress like a healthy, normal person? Or, is acceptance part of the process and so I should dress to reflect my condition? I have no idea. I can see some people through the window – they look very casual. I should at least put my hair up into a ponytail – that makes me look younger, more innocent… more inviting? Are you supposed to make friends at these meetings? Should I look younger or older?
Someone holds the door for me – he seems very nice, so I sit down next to him. I mean, once someone holds the door for you, you’re practically best friends, right? Or wait… maybe he’ll think I’m flirting because I sat down next to him. Shit. Dude, I promise you I am NOT interested… you look like a lumberjack. Chances are I just jeopardized my only chance at a real friend from this whole thing. Oops. Typical me.
So many people here. So. Many. Sick. People. Do you think the world would be better off without us? Probably. We’re such a burden for the system. All we do is cause eye-rolls and whispers… but seriously, if it weren’t for us, history would have been so much more messed up. Who would be there to catch your mistakes or to question every opinion you’ve ever had? Y’all need us. You just don’t realize it yet.
We’re starting. I should have probably practiced my line – I want it to come out just right. What if my voice sounds scratchy? You have to sound confident at these meetings or they’ll send you for special help and then you’re doomed. People call you all the time and make sure you’ve gone outside and eaten and had real human interactions. This isn’t a safe space – there’s probably people here who aren’t even sick. They’re just here to listen in on us and make sure we’re not too much of a threat to normal society.
Okay. Here we go. It’s my turn. Dear god I hope this comes out right. So many eyes on me. Am I supposed to make eye contact with everyone? Or just one person? Or no one? What if I leave someone out and they get offended?
“Hi honey… do you want to introduce yourself?”
Ugh, I hate his voice. He’s already judging me.
“Hi everyone. I’m Alex. And I’m a chronic overthinker.”