As I walked into tonight’s A.A. meeting, a chill was upon the air and the strong smell of brewing coffee accompanied it. Several members were watching the television in the front lounge as I passed on through to the meeting hall. They all greeted me as I said hello and good evening, and then I kept walking, avoiding the dreaded small talk.
I took a seat near the rear were I felt the most comfortable. You are less likely to be called upon to speak by overzealous chairpersons. Most of the people who attend these A.A. meetings smoke, and soon they poured into the room from the backdoor escaping the cold night air. The heavy smell of stale cigarette smoke hanging to everyone’s clothes wafted through the room on the cold wind from the open door.
“Everybody ready for a meeting?” The chairperson said as the low, steady drum of the many conversations quieted and people took their seats.
Tonight, Twitch was at the meeting. I call him Twitch in that he can’t sit still and makes me nervous. He constantly has to go to the bathroom, get up and stand in front of the gas fireplace, go pour another cup of coffee, or head outside for a quick cigarette. It is very distracting and most people are just too kind to say anything. He is an old timer with lots of sobriety, and garners a certain amount of respect from the group.
We were well into the meeting when another old timer leaned over to me and whispered, “Old ‘Twitch’ is awful nervous tonight, isn’t he?”
I chuckled quietly and nodded my head in agreement. Twitch had maybe gone out three times to smoke a cigarette, not able to sit still, and as many times to get a refill of coffee. Coffee was something he definitely didn’t need.
Finally, the meeting ended and a lady named Wanda came up to hug me. I really like Wanda. She is this very heavy set woman in her late forties and her demeanor is so disarming as far as my social phobias go.
“How have you been, honey?” She said with her arm around my shoulder as she looked at me and smiled. “Come on outside and smoke a cigarette with me. I ain’t letting you escape so easily tonight like you usually do.”
A great throng of people had formed outside on the back porch and near the barbeque pit to smoke cigarettes as is customary to do after a meeting.
“I get a lunch break tomorrow around noon. You want to meet me somewhere to eat?” Wanda asked me very forwardly.
I like forward people and they tend to cancel out my shyness with such affairs.
“Meet me over at Roger’s Barbeque and lunch will be on me,” I replied as I took another long drag from my little cigar and exhaled it out through my nose.
“Twelve ‘o’ clock?”
“Twelve ‘o’ clock,” I replied as I smiled.
“It’s a date then,” She said as she hugged me goodnight.
I walked on around the meeting hall and got in my car to drive home. I noticed through my windshield driving home that it was the first time I have seen stars in what has seemed like weeks. The weather has been so drab here. A beautiful country starry sky greeted me as I pulled onto spring road to have one more cigar before heading home. I rolled down my windows slightly and the briskly cold night air blew in. I could make out the dark silhouettes of many cows out in those dark pastures as I passed by as a bright blur on that long and winding country road. What a fitting end to what has been a grand day!