Bob Waved At Me

I was unemployed, in my early 20’s with a bad case of agoraphobia. It’s really hard to get a job when you are afraid to leave the house. Now I’m not sure how agoraphobia works with other people but for me I didn’t want to leave the house unless I was going to a “safe house”. No, not a shelter! I just mean a place that feels safe and where I can be more or less “myself”. Whoever that is.

 

And so my story begins at one of my safe houses. I had gotten a ride there by my best friend Angie. She had become a bit of a chauffeur for me because I don’t drive but she didn’t mind. She was always eager to see me get out of the house for awhile.

 

So here I am sitting on the couch at my friend Lucy’s house. There’s a lot of people here. There’s always a lot of people here. I honestly don’t know how many live here and how many are visiting. They are passing a joint from one person to the next. My eye has been secretly following the whole time even though everyone else is caught up in some deep discussion about nothing of importance.

 

Finally the joint is being handed to me. The moment I’ve been waiting for! I take a deep breath. I had practiced my lines over and over again in my head since the moment I arrived. Now… I open my mouth and try to stay calm. “I’m good, thanks.” I spoke without sounding like the antisocial nervous freak that I am. Whew! I take the joint and pass it to the person next to me. I’m not even sure they heard me speak.

 

Now that the stress of having to speak is behind me I take a moment to look around the room. The tv is on and there is a game on the screen although no one is playing. The timer on the game is ticking up and watching it seems to make my blood pressure go up. Tick, tick, tick… why didn’t they pause it before putting the controller down?

 

Bob waved at me. I blinked my eyes and looked again. No, Bob is just a character on the screen. Bob is just waiting for someone to control him in this game of life where the time keeps ticking but he is getting no where.

 

Someone is tapping my arm, trying to get my attention. “Huh?” I look over and it’s Tina, holding out the joint again. Had I been staring at the screen the entire time it took to get around the room? I’m caught off guard, my speech isn’t prepared. I start to sweat as I look at her hand holding out the joint to me.

 

“Want this?” She asks. I hate the way her voice sounds as she’s holding the smoke in her lungs. I have forgotten my lines!

 

“Bob waved at me!” I speak too loudly. Everyone stops their conversation and stares at me.

 

I stand up suddenly and rush to the bathroom. I didn’t really have to do anything in there so I just stand at the sink looking at myself in the mirror. Urgh I’m getting so old. I start inspecting my hair for grays and looking at my skin around my eyes.

 

A knock on the door startles me back to reality. I turn to the toilet and flush the water away to keep my cover going. Then I open the door. It’s Angie.

 

“Are you ok? Maybe you smoked too much.” She is looking at me concerned. I can’t seem to meet her eyes.

 

“Yea that must be it.” I haven’t smoked at all but apparently not even my best friend noticed. “I’m fine.”

 

She shrugs and walks into the bathroom. I stand in the kitchen for a minute unsure of what to say when I join everyone back in the living room. I’m nervously bouncing from foot to foot when Angie comes out of the bathroom.

 

“Do you want to get going?” Angie asks.

 

“Did you see Bob wave? He waved at me!” My heart starts racing, maybe I’m crazy, delusional, having some sort of meltdown?

 

“Who’s Bob? I don’t think anyone waved at you.” She waits patiently as I try to control my panic.

 

“On the game. The character. His name is Bob. He waved at me. I saw him wave.”

 

“Ok, well maybe he did. I wasn’t looking at the game. Let’s go see ok?” Angie takes me by the arm and leads me back into the living room. Someone had closed the gap where I was sitting before I ran to the bathroom so I took a seat next to Angie on the floor.

 

We both watch the screen as the others talk more in depth and intensely about nothing. The conversation is getting louder and louder.

 

I will not look away. I haven’t even blinked. Bob waved at me. “Bob waved at me! Oh my god, did you see it, did you see it?” I look over to Angie but she must have lost interest, she was laughing at someone’s joke. She didn’t see.

 

I leaned over and shut the tv screen off. No one noticed.

 

 

 

Copyright 1/29/2016 – Bob Waved At Me by Kerry Milauskas

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