by JANN EVERARD
sjm_sleeping_red1 by Michael Mandiberg | Flickr
“Head lice are easier to get rid of,” Sarah whines, and the group nods in unison. Sarah is the newest member of ACHES—Adult Children at HomE Still—a support group that meets every Friday night at the Wine On Bar, rain or shine, statutory holidays excepted. Counting Sarah, we now fill a table for twelve.
Meghan, our facilitator, gives us a few seconds to scratch our scalps. “We’re near the end of the venting segment of our meeting,” she says. “Does anyone else need to vent this evening?” No one speaks up. We’ve pretty much covered the insect analogies in past sessions—our kids as difficult to dislodge as wool moths, potato bugs, cockroaches. Meghan raps the table with shiny black nails. “Good. Let’s move on to coping strategies and self-care. Vivian, how are you doing?”
Next to me, Vivian shudders as if woken by gunshot. She has the look of a hard-core addict, all bony angles and sunken eye sockets. Her shoulders curve in towards her chest as if she’s protecting her breasts. In a thin voice, she says, “My doctor agreed to prescribe Pristiq.” She nods at me. “Thanks for that suggestion, Ann. I’m told anti-depressants take six weeks to fully kick in, and it’s only been two, but already I’m feeling something. I mean I feel like my brain is empty so that’s good, right? Better than obsessing?” She looks around the group for acknowledgement and we nod again vigorously.
As If Hell Were A Real Place
Michael Patrick Welch / McSweeney's
New Orleans / Ryan Thomas / Flickr
© Intrinsick 2015-2021