A moment alone

“Just Breathe,” Charlah said to herself as she closed the door to her bathroom, even though she didn’t have to go. She sat on the toilet without lifting the lid, and then reached behind the tank for her glass pipe. There was still residue in it from the night before, so she struck the Bic she pulled from her pocket. As she inhaled a mouthful, she stood, leaning toward the door making sure the handle was latched, and then flicked the switch for the fan; she exhaled everything in a long strand of smoke. After the smoke was out of her lungs she pushed more air out. Looking up at the fan grinding – metal-on-metal – Charlah made sure the smoke had ventilated before settling on a thought: Who’s coming over? Recall Who: Besides Aunt Beth, who Charlah was living with and her husband Dan, a poor uncle, breathe, her mom would come, but not her sister, Marsha, who had picked studying over a Thanksgiving Dinner with the family, just breathe; Aunt Beth’s neighbors would probably show, Art and Carol, and Carol would bring Sammy, their dog, because Sammy went everywhere, breathe. Charlah felt dizzy and nervous at the same time. She turned off the light because if she wasn’t downstairs Uncle Dan was going to be sent up to look for her and she didn’t want that, breathe; an awkward few seconds with him would ruin Charlah’s appetite, just breathe. Leaning forward with the sink for support, Charlah made sure she was together; she hated company; straightening, she yawned as she did when she was nervous.

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