Wednesday, October 25, 2006

After many, many tries

It was in me. I knew it was in me. But I needed the silence and space to set it free. Aack. So, better Wednesday than never for a Sunday Scribblings post. Click for more Good Stuff.

Group was such a loathsome place. James wasn’t sure what kept him going back.

“Nowhere else to go,” he thought to himself, pouring a measure of bad coffee and eyeing the veggies and dip alongside a platter of hastily arranged Chips Ahoy. The paradox pulled a grin across his face. It recoiled as he turned to face the rest of the room.

The chairs were in their circle, but there were more this time. “Boy, you miss one meeting,” he thought. James figured somewhere a handful of new sentences had been handed down. This, too, pulled a short-lived grin. “Sentences,” he muttered to no one in particular, tucking the almost smile away for safekeeping. Didn’t want to make any friends here.

“Let’s get started,” Dr. Love said, creaking a chair across the floor.

James knew most everybody there, so he stared at Eve L.’s shoes as the introductions came around. Rising from her stiletto heels were her obligatory fishnet hose which took their time getting to the hemline of her tight red dress. “She needs to get with the times,” James thought. Where he once had been tempted by Eve’s tawdriness he now found her tired and overdone. But, that was why she was here, wasn’t it?

A stretch of chairs remained unused and James wondered when the new folks would arrive. “Always late to the first meeting,” he said, remembering the power of his own denial. Then he she crossed his mind and he found himself wondering where she was as the twins introduced themselves … again.

Tragedy and Tragic had started coming to this meeting about 20 years ago, not too long after the first cable news network rendered them useless. A few months later they were joined by Amazing, Unbelievable and Shocker, all emasculated by the rising number of sports journalists in the 1980s. Scandal arrived in the mid-’90s, done in by the Clinton administration.

James himself was one of the founders of this little band and so had seated himself in the middle of the empty chairs. He was saving her a seat and knew full well that Love would leave his introduction for last, banking on some juicy morsel of self-indulgence after James’ absence last week. No such luck. James just hadn’t felt like coming. He’d heard all these stories a thousand times.

“Why are you here?” Love would ask.

“I’m not sure,” the newcomer would answer. “I guess to find new meaning. I mean, there once was a time when I had more power than I knew what to do with, I crystallized an undeniable human emotion (or condition or experience … this was a fill-in-the-blank spot for James). Now I’m reduced to rhetoric, sports headlines, fashion or food critiques. I’d love to reclaim that meaning in my life. I guess I’m here to figure out how.”

James was snapped from his flashbacks as tonight’s newcomers came in. They didn’t make a sound as they moved toward their seats.

Love motioned for him to move to one end of the available chairs, allowing these 12 to sit together. He did as he was asked, leaving a seat between himself and Love. She’d come, he knew she’d come. The 12 all came with that inconsolable grief on their faces, the same one he had worn in those early years of recovery. The fact that you’ve been used up is a tough pill to swallow. One by one the 12 introduced themselves and James stared in disbelief. There was Truth, Honesty and Charity. Twins Conservative and Liberal clung to their cousins, another set of twins, Left and Right. Morality came in, said he goes by Moral for short, and promptly bit into a Chips Ahoy. Finally Integrity held the door as War was carried in by Crisis and Conflict.

James couldn’t take it. He just stared at the now cold coffee in the trite foam cup. He heard Love’s voice but didn’t respond.

“James … James introduce yourself. James … GOOD!”

James finally looked up, snapping out of the depression he shared with all these tired, overused words who felt impotent and meaningless.

“Election season,” he sputtered as tears came to his eyes. “Wonder if any Good can come out of this.”

“Of course it can,” she said, shoring him up with a strong hand on his shoulder. He knew she would come. She laced her fingers into his as she took a seat.

And James Good was so thankful that he could always count on Hope.

Wow, what a new and interesting take on politics and elections! Finally something one can get excited about!

And thanks for checking in on me, I appreciate it! ;)
That was very original. Nice work.
I loved this-took me away for a few moments...
I had a moment of despair until I realized they were all in recovery. Phew! I have a special place in my heart for those in recovery, a place that doesn't get touched so tenderly by those still unwell and too deep in denial of having anything to recover from, though they touch me, too.
Words and people.
What would we do without "Hope" ????
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