CURVED: Dark Sunglasses


Max Wagner, Columnist

He walked into the meeting late like always, but much later than usual. He wore a plaid jacket with tears down the right arm, a black hat and dark sunglasses, even though it was past 8:00 pm. He sat in the chair two seats to my left. He crossed his arms, lowered his head and began to listen. He never speaks, not a single time. He only listens then leaves.

She walked in late, but I’ve never seen her before. She was tall with mostly black hair except for a few blonde strands that swayed next to her right ear. She walked with composure and strength, something very rare at one of these meetings. She wore a red jacket and oddly, she also wore dark sunglasses. Maybe she wore them to cover up something she didn’t want others to see but for some reason, I have a gut feeling that it’s the complete opposite.

Richard, a regular at the meetings was speaking about his family like he did every week. He has had a drinking problem like the rest of us. His wife left with his daughter around six months ago after a very bad night. He tells us this story every week without hesitation, reciting his life’s tale as if he reads it from a book. He finishes and Rachel, the ringleader of this circle of drunks thanks him and asks who’s next. A silence sweeps the room for a few moments until an unfamiliar voice speaks up. It’s the new woman with the dark sunglasses. She cleared her throat and licked her lips.

“My name is Sarah and I’m an alcoholic”.

The man sitting two seats to my left lifts his head as she says her name. He stares directly at her as if he knows who she is under the sunglasses. She looks back at him and gives him a slight nod of recognition, then turning her attention to Rachel as she begins to speak.

“Hello Sarah, welcome to our group. You’re new here so why don’t you tell us a little about yourself. Anything you’re comfortable with”.

“Thank you.” She pauses for a moment and then begins to speak again. “It’s interesting what the man before me said because I’ve lost people I care about too. I’m in law enforcement so I guess going into it you should expect to lose people. Its an expectation that comes with the profession but, when it happens, when it changes from an expectation to reality it’s just… no one should have to go through that. So I drink to cope with that reality. A reality that has come forth far too often recently. I wake up and the world expects me to protect them, expects me to show them that there’s hope in those that chose to protect them. And I do, I protect them to the best of my ability, to show them that this world is a world worth living in. But recently my best is not enough. I thought that I had it all figured out and I think that I still do but even with that knowledge, this world is ripping itself apart and I’m beginning to feel that it’s my fault. I’ve lost some of the people I care most about emotionally and physically and I can’t help but think that while my intentions are good for this world it’s all my fault that those people I care most about are gone.”

The man with the sunglasses gets up from his chair and heads towards the exit on the backside of the building. Sarah finishes what she’s saying and follows his lead heading towards the exit. With the time almost hitting 10 p.m. Rachel ends the meeting, saying thank you and have a good night to everyone. The others leave through the front as usual, I began walking there too but decide otherwise and walk towards the back door. I look through the small foggy window of the door and for some odd reason I hoped to see Sarah and the man standing there, and I did. They were deep in conversation and by the way they stood and spoke to each other it was clear that they knew one another. I opened the door slightly to slip out without them noticing me. My human curiosity was taking over my moral sense of privacy. I got close enough to hear them speak and I heard Sarah call the man Nick.

“We have to stop this Sarah. I know you might think you’re right but you’re not. What you’re doing is immoral. You can’t use the boys power to alter reality even if you think it’s for the good.”

“I have to Nick, losing Jack broke me and if I can prevent that from happening to anyone else ever again then it’s my duty to do it.”

“It broke me too, he was my best friend, but you can’t change the future based on that boys visions.”

“No, I can’t change the past, but, I can change the future.”

“I’m not gonna stop Sarah, I can’t let you continue to do this and you’re too stubborn to stop on your own watch so I’m gonna have to stop you.”

“I know and I’m not gonna sit down and let you without a fight. Goodbye Nick.”

“Yeah, stay at your own AA meetings from now on Sarah. I’m not gonna pull my punches anymore.”

“Wouldn’t expect you to. I’m not either.”

Sarah turned away from Nick, tossed her jacket and glasses to the side and took off into the sky at thundering speed. Nick threw his jacket off revealing black mechanical wings and took off in the opposite direction. They both flew with immense speed and conviction. Under those dark sunglasses they hid secrets and responsibilities.