The walls were cinder block. On the concrete floor was remnants of grout that suggested it had once been covered by linoleum or a tile of some kind. There were several pipes and wires protruding from the rear wall. At one time they had no doubt empowered the miscellaneous machinery of whatever business had occupied the building. Along the opposite wall were a couple of beat up couches. They were of the sort you would expect to find on a curb somewhere in suburbia on garbage day. However, despite the fact no one was seated there, they seemed to add a sense of comfort to the otherwise cold atmosphere of the rundown Chicago building. The room’s center was occupied by a large folding table. It, like everything else, was old and damaged but nevertheless succeeded in holding up several over flowing ashtrays.
Through the doorway adjacent to the over-loved couches was the room where the meeting was going to be held. It wasn’t quite time yet though, so those of us who still smoked cigarettes had migrated here to prepare. We felt the need to smoke and have a cup of coffee before we bared our souls to a roomful of strangers.
Upon entering the room I immediately lit the cigarette that had been patiently dangling from my lips since we’d arrived. True, it hadn’t been long, but when you’re anxious and uncomfortable every minute seems like an eternity. “Finally,” I thought. And then, after exchanging suspicious glances with the other people in the room, I took a couple more drags and began contemplating my situation.
“I shouldn’t be here,” I thought. “How the hell did I let her talk me into taking her here? And why the hell did I come inside? I shouldn’t be here. Awe… fuck it. Its cold in the car.”
Now resolved, I took a seat in what I perceived to be the most comfortable of the dozen or so mismatched chairs that surrounded the table. A moment later a large black man with sorrow in his eyes took a seat across from me. “I’m Sean,” He said. I looked up but said nothing. “I’m Kristy, and this is Jebus,” my companion explained.
“Jebus?” he asked me.
“Yep,” Kristy said for me.
“So Jebus, what brought you here?”
“She did,” I said pointing to Kristy.
He smiled slightly
“This is his first meeting he’s a little uncomfortable.” Kristy said.
“I know how you feel,” said Sean “I was really nervous at my first meeting too. But don’t worry, everybody will help make it easier.”
I wasn’t sure what he meant. In fact, the only thing that I was sure of was that he had no idea how I felt. How could he? I felt like a whore in a convent, like a wolf among sheep. There I was, a drug dealer at a N.A. meeting…