She stood up and walked to the podium with her palms clammy and beads of sweat on her nose. Mrs. Dalloway continued to knit as she’s heard everyone’s story before. It was always the same story: some regular junkie comes in, preaches on how they got sober and how “YOU” can do it too. She noticed the woman approaching the podium when she walked in—she smelled new. Mrs. Dalloway had been in Narcotics Anonymous for the last 17 years. She was mandated to the meetings at St. Joseph’s on 3rd Avenue after a bad batch of shrooms that sent her running butt naked through the city and shitting on Ed Koch’s shoe. Mrs. Dalloway, while sober, just continues to come to the meetings as she has grown accustomed to the routine. Every Tuesday night, this was her thing. The cookies, the conversation, the inspiration, the tears – everything about this was her, regardless of how mundane it’s become to her.
“No one ever talks about how great the high is. We always talk about how we’ve hit rock bottom and how we can’t take care of our families or…we lost our jobs and can’t fucking pay rent. I’m only here because I know if I come here…no one will judge me. It’s a judge free zone right?”
The crowd looked at the short woman with the peanut butter complexion confused and uncomfortable. Mrs. Dalloway put her knitting needle down, and for the first time in 12 years listened to a “newbie.”
“The high. Woo. Shit. The high. It’s like… the best fucking feeling and I’m not going to stop. I should feel guilty…I should feel really fucking guilty. But I love it. It takes me to another place. It makes me feel like I matter. Like I’m the only one. It’s powerful. Y’know? But I gotta get this off my chest. I can’t tell my friends. I sure as hell can’t tell my mother. My father would…he would fucking die. So I saw an ad in the Voice and I said to myself, ‘Well all these motherfuckers are sinning and shit. Why not be a part of the crowd?’”
Mrs. Dalloway began to get flustered and so did everyone else in the room.
“Well if you’re going to insult us, tell us your name and what drug you’re on because it seems like it’s fucking dope,” Mr. Gonzalez said in his thick Dominican accent.
“My name is Alex,” she began. Alex looked around the room, squinted and smirked.
“My name is Alex, and I’m addicted to being the ‘other woman.’