By Brody McDougherty
It’s amazing how fast impulse-buys become long-term investments. That’s exactly what happened when my housemate, Derek, was searching online for a vape.
“How funny would it be,” he said, tap, tap, tapping my thigh, “if I bought a vape?”
I didn’t say anything. You can imagine my expression.
“Well, I think it’d be hilarious,” he said.
And after a few clicks and 3-5 business days, I don’t know who this man is anymore. Maybe I just don’t get the joke, but I don’t think any part of this thing is very funny at all.
When I come home, the whole place is covered in a gray haze of a filter. I am stunned. What is happening?
Derek, though, he sits on the couch, unamused, playing Call of Duty. He blows vape. He is the source of the filter. He is the source of the haze.
He says, “What’s up, Brody?”
My name is Doug.
“You just gonna stand around and watch me blow sick clouds?”
I tell him I will do no such thing and run upstairs to my room. He calls after me, loser, he says, over and over, loser, where’d you go? But I pay him no attention.
It’s barely evening and I’m getting ready for bed. If I can just go to sleep fast enough, I’ll awake to learn that this had all just been a dream.
But every morning, I awake and find the vape still sitting on the coffee table downstairs. And it’s as I hear him lumbering down the stairs, groggy and annoyed, that I realize, every morning, no matter how hard I try, I cannot escape this reality. His reality.
“Brody,” he says, making it to the first floor. He plops himself down in the same spot he’s been in for months. He snatches the vape and holds it to his lips like an inhaler and sucks. Long and deep, he sucks. And then he lets out a huge cloud of milky smoke. “Brody,” he says again, nodding his head in the cloud. His lips curl into a satisfied smile.
And because there’s nothing else for me to do, I sit next to him.
My housemate got a vape, and I don’t know who he is anymore…
I don’t know who I am anymore.