This bus is rockin’, and they won’t stop knockin’. I’m instinctively moving to the back once again. My panic reaching new heights as my mind is confronted with how I got here, and why this is happening. I don’t reach any conclusions before they begin breaking through the front doors. The arm that had made it through is used as a crowbar of sorts.
I quickly jump up on the seats. Straddling the aisle, I push up on the emergency hatch in the roof. It grows louder in the bus as the front door is breached. I attempt to pull myself up, struggling with this feat of strength. Fortunately the mob is slowing itself down inside the confined space of the bus.
I see a few of them in the front finally break free from the clusterfuck, and that provides enough motivation for my arms to pull me through the hatch. However, I’m not quick enough about pulling my legs up. My foot, and then my leg are grabbed as I’m yanked back through the small opening.
The next thing I know, I awake on the train. The recent events my brain created slows my transition back to reality. A dancer to my left doesn’t make it any smoother. His music and elaborate movements led me to reactively jump up and confront him. Fortunately, I stopped just short. He gave me such a look, making it apparent that had never happened before. Never stopped dancing though. Could the flailing and incomprehensible noise have influenced the nightmare? Doubtful, it wasn’t likely much more than my own demons.
I don’t say anything out of embarrassment, and sit back down. Where was I going anyways? I seem to be moving unconsciously north for some reason. I decide to get off at a familiar stop. Once at ground level, I’m immediately faced with choosing a destination. If I turn and head east, I can return to the Good Meeting. If I continue north, there is a liquor store.
I cross the street where a #29 bus waits at the light. I make a point of checking that there are normal passengers inside it. While walking I’m a bit suspicious of anyone I encounter. The mobs that were after me remain in my subconscious. Although they’re fading more with each step. Surely they represent those people who come in and out of my life with varying degrees of conflict. From Myra on the low end, because that’s my fault, to others such as the Cyclist and Supervisor M on the high side.
The situation itself of being trapped on the bus, feeling helpless but wanting to help myself. That is a bit easier to identify as my continuing struggles with alcohol. Perhaps my brain was trying to tell me I should go for the emergency hatch much sooner. Figuratively speaking. See that red flag, and react. Do something about it. I could use something to calm my nerves.
However, my feet carry me in the right direction today. I arrive at the Good Meeting place just minutes before starting time. Finding a seat, I breathe a sigh relief. There’s some sense of accomplishment just in returning here. First time that has happened. I feel more confident. And it makes the nightmare feel a bit more-distant.
Today is more of a discussion group. But there will likely still be at least one speaker. The meeting commences with the same woman as last time. She’s wearing a grey blazer today. I can’t help wondering how that Mazda is treating her. These thoughts are soon brushed away.
“We have some new faces we didn’t get to last time. What with all the great speakers we had. So I’d like to take this opportunity to invite them up and to officially join the group.”
I rise up out of my chair. I’m the only one. The group leader was being a little vague on purpose. So as not to put any pressure on me. I appreciate it, feeling the normal apprehension as I’m walking up the few steps to the stage. A warm, inviting smile from the leader calms me just enough to keep going. I squeeze the top sides of the podium, and it reminds me briefly of the rubber on the bus doors. It’s time to push through, try to do the right thing. Whatever the consequences. Pretty safe to say it’s overdue.
“Hello, my name is Frederick, people call me Fred. Anyways, I’m an alcoholic…”