#16: Af­ter an AA meet­ing, Robert hits the Waf­fle House

GA Voice - - Film -

Robert and Janet plopped into fold­ing chairs in the rear of the large meet­ing room of Galano, a gay club­house that hosts all kinds of 12-step meet­ings.

The oc­ca­sion was their mu­tual friend and hair-stylist Ralph’s first an­niver­sary with­out al­co­hol, crys­tal meth, overeat­ing, emo­tional out­bursts or mas­tur­bat­ing and fail­ing to wash his hands be­fore touch­ing a client’s hair.

Ralph, 27, was ar­rested when he of­fered a po­lice­man a hit of crys­tal in the park­ing lot of a Cheshire Bridge bar. He spent the night in a hold­ing cell dressed in the black rub­ber sin­glet he wore for the bar’s fetish night.

The AA meet­ing be­gan. Robert tried not to stare at the hot crys­tal meth ad­dicts in the room. His at­ten­tion waxed and waned as the group dis­cussed grat­i­tude.

“I come home and the elec­tric­ity was cut off and my pet tur­tle had got out his box some­how and I couldn’t find him,” some­one was say­ing.

“Plus, there was noth­ing in the re­frig­er­a­tor ‘cept a sin­gle beer my room­mate left there. I said to my­self, ‘Now is the time to have an at­ti­tude of grat­i­tude for my so­bri­ety,’ so I lit some can­dles and prayed.

“You know what? That tur­tle crawled right out in front of me and I had no hes­i­ta­tion set­ting him in the sink and dous­ing him with that beer, be­cause I knew he’d love it and I didn’t need it. That’s what grat­i­tude means to me, and, an­other thing…”

So it went. Af­ter an hour, Ralph rose to re­ceive his first-an­niver­sary blue chip. He thanked ev­ery­one and talked briefly about how grate­ful he was to hear the tur­tle story.

“My baby sis­ter had a lit­tle tur­tle when we were kids and I stepped on it by mis­take,” he said. “To­day, thanks to AA, I can tell my­self that I’m grate­ful I didn’t kill my baby sis­ter in­stead.”

Ev­ery­one ap­plauded. The group broke up. Janet and Robert hugged Ralph and asked him to din­ner, but he was head­ing to a cel­e­bra­tion with his AA friends.

“I’m ex­hausted,” Janet said. “Can we just grab some­thing sim­ple and quick?”

“That took it out of me too,” Robert said. “Let’s hit the Waf­fle House.”

“Oh, I love the Waf­fle House,” Janet said. “It’s pure the­ater, even if the food sucks.”

They sat in the front of the restau­rant. Robert, look­ing around, was shocked, once again, to see Lee eat­ing at the bar. He whis­pered to Janet, “I think I’m be­ing stalked for real.”

Janet looked up and shot Robert a skull­rat­tling eye­roll.

“He’s really weird,” she said. “I think you’ve picked an­other lu­natic as a pos­si­ble boyfriend.”

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