If someone were to ask how I feel about my current job, I don’t think I could conjure a response that didn’t reek of soul-sucking dissatisfaction. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am thankful I was able to find a job so quickly and that I didn’t have to go back home to avoid, well, homelessness — but that doesn’t make the work any less dull, the woman in charge any less deranged or the pay any less depressing. There is one thing though, that despite all of these grievances, I actually look forward to and that’s Wednesdays — my day off. Now, this may seem like one tiny positive floating in a big sea of negatives but for me, having a day off in the middle of the week was like Christmas in July. ‘Cause while everyone else was out working and the streets were calm, I could go out for breakfast, shop, run errands — well… that’s what I would’ve done… in my old life — but now, I get to sleep and that was good enough for me because this sleep wasn’t just any ol’ sleep. It was real sleep. The pop-two-NyQuills-and-catch-up-on-the-other-six-nights-I-couldn’t-sleep, sleep and that was something worth looking forward to.
I took a shower, changed into my daytime pajamas, inhaled a bowl of cereal, turned the AC all the way down and danced over to the bed — drink and pills in hand — ready to get this all day sleep-a-thon started and I was so close — so close to this delicious sleep I craved so much, I could taste it and I was about to—
Put… everything on hold because someone was knocking at my freaking door!
I tossed the sleep aid on the counter and quietly moved across the living room, trying my best not to make any noticeable sounds, just in case the person on the other side was someone I rather not make my presence known to like my neighbor, Julian — who seemed to always be around, waiting to be… helpful — offering things like taking out my trash, bringing up my one bag of groceries or whatever other excuse he could come up with in hopes that I’d finally let him in my apartment.
When the view through the peephole revealed my friends instead of my shamelessly-thirsty-downstairs-neighbor-boy, I let out a deep breath I hadn’t even realized I was holding, relieved and a little surprised to see their faces.
I wondered if we had plans that I had somehow forgotten. No— I shook away that thought. There’s no way we had plans. No Work Wednesdays were for sleep — not social plans — so they must’ve wanted something else.
I opened the door and invited them in, taking stock of their outfits as they walked past me. The clothes they were wearing were definitely for social plans but the length, fit and style of these garments weren’t for just any kind of social plans. These were reserved for nighttime social plans. The kind that usually involved alcohol, loud music and crowded spaces.
I glanced at the time on the stove as I closed the door behind them. It was only 12:36. The club wasn’t even open yet and unless they both had suddenly taken up day drinking, I was pretty sure they weren’t going to a bar either. And now, with the way they were standing here, bouncing glances back and forth between each other like they were having some kind of telepathic discussion — something else had to be going on here and I had a strong feeling it had nothing to do with sleeping.
Jesminder made a subtle nod towards me which must’ve been some kind of signal to Cassandra because on her cue, she moved around me, back over to the door, leaving me standing in between the two of them.
With my fight-or-flight senses now on high alert, I turned my body sideways so I could keep my eyes on both of them. They were definitely up to something and I needed to map an escape route just in case…
I backed myself further into the kitchen. “What are y’all doing?”
“Okay, just hear us out,” Cassandra said with her hands up like she was trying to calm whatever reaction she thought I was about to have.
My eyes shifted from her, down to the bag, I just noticed Jesminder was holding, then back over to her again. “About what?”
She took a couple of steps forward. “We’re going out tonight.”
I took a couple of steps back. “Okay…” I looked back over at Jesminder, who now seemed to be a little closer than before. “Do you need me to watch Kaelyn or something?”
“You’re going too.” She sat the mystery bag down on the counter behind me. “We’re all going out tonight.”
That’s what this is? A kidnapping attempt?? They were just going to run up in here, in broad daylight, and force me to do all kinds of things against my will — like get dressed and do my hair and worse — be social???
“Oh no.” I sped past them, into the living room, shaking my head vehemently. “No, no, I don’t wanna go.”
“Camilla, come on.” Cassandra stomped her foot like a two-year-old who wasn’t getting her way.
“I told you she was gonna be difficult.” Jesminder sighed as she began unpacking the bag.
“Cass, no.” I continued shaking my head. “I don’t wanna go. Y’all just go without me.”
“But it’ll be fun— Look,” Cassandra did a little dance to illustrate this fun she was speaking so highly of. “We can drink and dance and find some cute guys—”
Cute guys. See, I knew it was coming. She’s been on this crazy mission to find me a man since the day I told her about my breakup, and she was not going to stop until she did.
“See— No. Jes, tell her, please.”
But Jesminder was anti find Camilla a man, at least for now anyway, and would for sure be on my side with this one.
“You ain’t gotta flirt and all that—” She came to my rescue.
“But you could—” Miss Matchmaker chimed in.
“But you don’t have to.” Jesminder cut her off. “But you do need to get out of this apartment. Sitting up in here all the time, like you do, ain’t good for you.”
“So you might-as-well cut all this out.” She rested her hand on her hip. “’Cause we ain’t leaving here without you.”
Cassandra stood next to her, arms folded, in some kind of act of solidarity.
With nowhere to run and no way to get rid of them, I guess…
I’m… going out tonight…