When I got there, he wasn’t home yet. So I let myself in.
Credit where it’s due: It was a nice place. (Nicer than what I thought he could have afforded, to be honest. And tastefully furnished, which couldn’t have been him. It all looked new, which was…well, new for him.)
And the kitchen! A fully stocked refrigerator and pantry. (Which also couldn’t have been him. He was always more of a “the kitchen is the room where you make coffee or eat your takeout food over the sink” type of person—when I knew him, anyway.)
I don’t even know why I went in there. Other than the fact that I do that every time I go to a new place—always to the kitchen. I mean, yeah, it’s fascinating seeing what and how people eat. Window into their personality and all that. And it helps me sometimes with what I have to do while I’m there; it gives me an angle to play or whatever.
But real talk: I do it to torture myself. It’s something my therapist would have a field day with if I ever told her about it.
(It’s not that complicated, though: I miss food. I know in my head I don’t need it, but sweet baby Jesus almighty I still MISS it.)
Like tonight when I was there, he had a fresh package of English muffins in the pantry and for about a full minute I was straight up consumed with the thought of a toasted buttered English muffin.
(“A toasted buttered English muffin,” I say, as if I would have had just one. I would have eaten all six. I would have INHALED all six.)
But I digress.
(No I don’t; I’m still thinking about the English muffins. I will be thinking about them for days, if not weeks.)
It was quiet at his place. I mean, of course it was because he wasn’t there. But even beyond that: No muffled neighbors’ voices through the walls, no footsteps on the stairs or in the hallway. Not even any groaning of the furnace or hiss of the heated air seeping through the vents. It must have been by design; God only knows what the rent is every month for that level of peace and quiet.
Which, again: Baffling. The last place I remember him living, the next door neighbors would scream at each other—literally scream at each other for at least an hour, nonstop—no less than three nights a week, the guy upstairs DJ’d his own personal rave every other Saturday night, and the new parents across the hall would impotently rage—in the form of ‘I’m really angry but also really tired’ sounding cries of “Shut. UP!” cast into the building’s stairwell every half hour for the entirety of the Screamers’ or DJ Loner’s carrying on. While their baby wailed away, of course, so they were part of the problem, too. (Through no fault of their own, though, because babies are gonna baby. But you know what I mean.)
But, hey, good for him. A nice quiet place, nice furniture, lots of food (good GOD I want an English muffin). He’s adulting, and it’s about time.
And that’s kind of why I went there. Just to see what he was up to these days and maybe have a talk. No plan beyond that.
But then when I saw how nice everything was it kind of brought a plan into focus. I figured out the angle I was going to play.
(The food was part of the formation of the angle but not entirely but then again HE ALSO HAD LOTS OF BUTTER IN THE FRIDGE AND ONE STICK WAS EVEN ON A REAL BUTTER DISH WITH A COVER AND EVERYTHING AND HE HAD A TOASTER AND PLATES AND KNIVES AND EVERYTHING WAS THERE FOR ME TO MAKE A TOASTED BUTTERED ENGLISH MUFFIN…but it’s fine. I don’t need it; that’s one of the best things about this.
Or so I’ve been told when I bring up food with the others. “You don’t need it! All that time you used to spend on food—buying it, preparing it, ordering it, eating it, paying for it—you have ALL that time back!” And I’m just sitting there, all “Yeah, you know what I do with that time? I THINK ABOUT EATING.”)
But again, I digress.
(But not really, sorry not sorry.)
ANYway, so that was going to be my play: Surprise him, shock him, and then when he’s caught off guard and freaking out and maybe peeing his pants (it happens, I’ve seen it) or whatever I’d hit him with “So now you’re trying in life and that’s working out? Well, that’s just super! SO GLAD I GOT TO BE A PART OF THAT AND REAP ALL THE REWARDS OF SUPPORTING YOU ALL THOSE YEARS AND THAT YOU HAVE ENGLISH MUFFINS THESE DAYS WHICH YOU NEVER BOUGHT FOR ME WHEN WE WERE TOGETHER AND SPEAKING OF THAT WHO’S DOING YOUR GROCERY SHOPPING AND YOUR DECORATING?”
And then, I was going to…well, that was the extent of the angle I decided to play. Let myself in, wait for him, scare him when he got home, lecture him. Laugh at him if he peed his pants.
After that? I don’t know, maybe I would’ve screamed at him (we don’t eat but we can do awesomely nerve-wracking screams that sound like no noise humans can produce). Or maybe I would’ve vowed to return unless he did this or that or the other thing, or knocked something over (we can do that, too, and we don’t even have to concentrate really hard or be really angry or whatever to do it—don’t believe what you see in the movies). Or put a curse on him.
(Which wouldn’t have been real—we can tell people we’ve cursed them even though we don’t actually have the ability to do it. I don’t know; the rules are weird and I didn’t make them. I don’t know what to tell you about that. But I can tell you that just telling someone they’re cursed is surprisingly effective—power of suggestion when you’ve already thoroughly freaked them out and what-not.)
But then, well, it got late and he never came home. At least, not while I was there. I know, anticlimactic. INSERT SAD TROMBONE SOUND HERE.
(Also, full disclosure, and I’m telling you this in confidence, FYI: Going to his place was not exactly, technically, officially one of my actual appointments for the night. It was just an…extra stop I made between appointments.
Which is against the rules. Rules which also state lying about curses is OK, so I don’t know. Again, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them. Mostly.)
So yeah, I waited for a while. And then I got bored waiting, and I had to get to my next for real appointment.
So I left.
(All right, full disclosure again: I went back to the kitchen, knocked the English muffins on the floor, stepped on them, and then I left. Yeah, we can step on things when we want to. And I wanted to step on those things. To mess with him when he got home and make him wonder how his English muffins got on the floor and stepped on, of course, but also because I was mad at the muffins for being fresh and soft and uneatable. They had it coming.)
And then I really let the family at my next appointment have it. There were many of the ungodly screams I mentioned earlier. And a particularly haunting, paranoia-inducing, I actually scared myself with how messed up it was “curse” may have been uttered.
Did I take out my frustrations on them? Probably. Was I harsher with them than I should have been, even though they were on the schedule for a reason (they know what they did)? Probably. Will I be coached on that if that appointment ends up being one of the ones that gets reviewed by QA? Probably.
But…well, they also had a nicely stocked pantry. And I don’t have to tell you what I found in it that triggered me, right?