“It’s a Wednesday.”
I repeated the phrase in my head as I stared at the red sliver that indicated my phone was in its final minutes of battery life. It was a pleasantly cool night and I wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable standing in the middle of the street. It was just after 1am, and the cars had stopped zipping along this backroad hours ago. I assumed, anyway. I didn’t quite know where I was or if I had ever been there before.
I was happy to be outside on such a beautiful evening. It wasn’t typical of me to spend my Wednesday nights venturing through wooded trails and sneaking through back yards. The stress of homework in college usually had me quarantined. But not this Wednesday.
Memories tend to exist alongside immediate reality when you’re tripping on mushrooms. Thoughts unrelated to the present moment somehow don’t distract from it. Your mind acquires a kind of omnipotence, a limitless multiplicity where everything that is reveals itself to you rapidly, eternally, viscerally.
Trying not to panic is a strange game. There is a you that is panicking at this very moment, yet you get to make the divine choice to be the version of you that isn’t. The torturous part of the choice is you have to witness the alternative versions of your decisions—all of them—play out in your mind. Gets cluttered, after a while.
I was remembering the fun of the early evening. There were the good times outside, before. The time by the pond, on the floating dock between the shore and the mysterious, perfectly circular plot of land thrusting out from the middle of the water. The sun had long set, but the trees’ silhouettes were still blacker than the sky behind it. The tree people were out again, dancing for you, now that you’d finally made it back.
Inside, it was nice, too. It was warm there. There was the red blanket you brought from home. You were prepared. And then they left you alone in the bathroom for a while. You listened to piano music and stripped in front of the mirror. Everyone told you not to look in the mirror, but tonight it would be impossible to hide from yourself, so you looked everywhere. And you were beautiful.
You sang songs with your friends and shouted “It’s a Wednesday!” You’ve never laughed so hard.
And when they were filled with cigarette smoke and greasy food and fatigue, they said you could go if you wanted—and you did. And you ran, and walked, and did something in between for a good long while too.
Then you began to miss your friend, your best friend, your sister, the one you left in Philadelphia. You call her.
“I’m moving to Colorado in three months.”
You don’t cry and you watch yourself cry.
Then I was alone with a dying phone and no idea where I was. My breath rattled in my lungs despite the light humidity. It was a Wednesday. After 1am. The few friends I had who owned cars were certainly asleep, and I wouldn’t even know where to tell them to pick me up.
There was one person I could call. We weren’t friends, but I knew his availability past 11pm every night, and I knew he had just gotten off his delivery shift and was most likely settling into a smoky evening. I prayed he was solo as the phone rang—at least I knew he wasn’t with me.
Finally, “Hello?” It sounded like he had been sleeping.
“Okay, so I know we’re probably definitely not on this level yet, but I was pretty sure you’d be awake and I’m sorry if you weren’t but I really need your help. I’m…tripping on mushrooms and on a street somewhere and I don’t know where I am and my phone is at 2% battery and I really need somebody to pick me up.”
He sighed, hard. I accepted the possibility that we would never share a bed again. “Okay, walk to the nearest corner and tell me what the street sign says.”
I waited, my spine pressed against the cold, rusted metal. His blue sedan pulled up, and I stepped into the car that for the first time would bring me to my own room.
He was grumpy, but smiling. “Alright, tell me a story.”