“Heyo, table for four, please,” our driver said.
I quickly looked at Shaggy and Pasty, neither of whom returned a glance. Shit.
We were led down the aisle, past the fish 30 gallon fishtank filled with Koi absolutely meant for a pond,at minimum. I walked, step by step, acutely aware of the dull roar of voices, silverware clanging, kids yelling and those goddamn lights that were just far too bright for me in the moment.
We were seated and, just as quickly, too quickly for my liking, a waitress approached, gave us each a glass of water and asked if we’d like any drinks.
“Coke, please,” said our driver.
“Is Pepsi ok?” the waitress responded.
“Mountain Dew” for me, said Shaggy
“Me too,” added Pasty
“And for you?”
I was entirely confused. I had water. Was that not for drinking? Was it left over from the last guests at our table? Did the others already finish thiers? I looked around to blank stares.
“Uh, no, I’m good, thanks.”
Okay, that was it, the worst part was over. No more human interaction until it was time to pay the check. That might be tricky, but I could calculate the tip on my phone.
With the worst surely behind me, I exhaled, stretched out a bit and looked to my left. That’s when I saw them. My fucking grandparents.
For those who don’t know, Swami comes from a strict Catholic family. My grandfather’s last drink was on New Year’s Eve 1958-59. Here I was, higher than I’d ever been, with eyes that would scream the truth.
By some divine grace, they had not yet noticed me, they were paying the check. Lucky me, I wouldn’t have to cover for long.
“Oh my gosh! Hi guys!” I started.
They could not have been more excited to see me.
“Swami!” my grandmother proclaimed. “Well isn’t that nice, we didn’t know you were going to be here.”
“Oh honey, what’s wrong with your eyes?”
My heart sank, my mind went blank. I was drowning in sweat. If they knew, which they had to, I was dead. No more friends, no more smoking and probably just a little bit of rehab would be in my future. And that was best case.
“Are those darn allergies of yours acting up again?”
Grace had found me yet again. A golden way out that I had never considered. It’s true, I’m afflicted with pollen and ragweed allergies so bad that there are mornings where my eyes swell shut.
I took my out and I don’t remember a word I said after that. Somehow, some way, I was able to keep up appearances until their own waitress came over to return their check and send them on their merry way. I did have to get up for a hug and a handshake, (Grandfather isn’t the affectionate type) but I made it.
From that point on, I let my high take over. The danger was in the past and I was safe to smoke another day. However, from that point on, whenever we decided to dab, I made sure to avoid any place that I knew my grandparents had ever been to in their entire lives.
I survived and I didn’t want to have to again.