The day was similar to almost every other day of the week. It was a Tuesday, the day following Monday and preceding Wednesday. If Tuesday were a person, she’d wear glasses that didn’t fit her face. She’d love cats and stay indoors a lot. She wouldn’t be trendy like Friday, nor extroverted like Saturday and she certainly wouldn’t be a Weekend Wannabe like Thursday. She’d be a lighter shade of blue than Monday and kind of cozy like Mrs. Sunday. Tuesday would be precocious, observant, clumsy and a little chubby. She’d have a lot of junk under her bed and lose track of time easily. She’d be sensitive and independent. She’d be thoughtful and kind.
Except for the last Tuesday of December 2017 when she was none of those things. It was a most regrettable day. A very-out-of-character-for-Tuesday-kind-of-day. Like, is it normal for a stoner to be high maintenance? Aren’t they supposed to be chill and cuddly? Happy and friendly? Surely they’re not demanding little divas, right? ‘Cause Susan Pettigrew turned into a dreadful little monster upon the digestion of a gummy with THC.
Miss Pettigrew had come back to the hostel following a somewhat stressful shift at her other job as a receptionist. She sat on the couch, plugged in her earphones and pretended she didn’t know the couple in 3B were having sex for the 327th time in two weeks.
Camila, Susan’s roommate from 3A, the women’s dorm, sat on the couch, too. Camila came from Mexico to visit a friend of hers who now lives in Toronto. For the most part, the two of them sat in quiet but Camila was feeling a little chatty. Every now and then she’d practice her English with Susan, mostly through Google Translate. In between texting, Camila would look up from her phone and offer a new conversation starter. Who are you, where are you from, this is where I’m from, do you have siblings, my brother is an actor, too, do you like Toronto, also, I’m feeling a little weird.
“Oh,” said Susan, “are you okay?”
Camila shrugs, “Today, my friend gave me marri-you-wanna.”
Camila looked at Susan as if to ask if she understood. Susan shook her head. Camila types into Google Translate and shows Susan the English translation.
“Marijuana?! He gave you marijuana?”
“Yes,” she laughs, “I never try it before. It was a…” She pulls out her phone, types and shows Susan.
“Gum? There’s marijuana gum?”
Camila nods and laughs. So Susan thought, you know, may stoners came up with this idea for weed-flavoured gum. Kind of like Bertie Botts Every Flavour Bean. Most of the flavours are disgusting but that’s kind of the point. Every jelly bean is a gamble. You never know what you’re going to get. Maybe these stoners made gum not so it would taste good but because it’s fun. A stoner would do something like that. Or maybe it was like Nicorette but for people who were addicted to weed and not nicotine. Gum to aid in the weaning off of weed. Is there such a thing? Susan didn’t know but she often wondered what it would be like to chew Nicorette if you’ve never smoked before. Would you get a buzz? Could you get addicted to nicotine just by the chewing the gum?
“I ate it,” said Camila.
“You ate the gum?” asked Susan. Camila nodded.
Well, that’s not healthy, thought Susan. People aren’t supposed to eat their gum. One of her elementary teachers told her if she ate her gum it would take seven years for it to come back out again. That’s why you should never chew gum in class. But maybe people in Mexico are different. Maybe they don’t mind if it takes seven years to poop out gum. So Susan didn’t judge and just nodded her head.
Nonetheless, Susan’s curiosity was peaked and when Camila asked if she wanted to try some, Susan said yeah. Camila went back to her room and came back out carrying a little wrapped candy. She handed it to Susan. This was not gum at all. It was a gummy. A gummy infused with 80 mg of THC.
The instructions on the back stated the candy should be divided into 8 pieces. Upon inspection, Susan noted the package was opened and the gummy was pretty small. To cut something that small into even more small pieces seem to defeat the purpose. If you’re going to eat candy, you eat a mouthful. Not some dinky little piece smaller than a baby tooth. Plus, there was a bite-sized chunk missing.
Susan asked Camila how much she actually had. The answer changed three times. First it was half, then it was an eighth, then it was a quarter. Susan was tired, she had a bad day but in spite of all this, Susan was also a woman of her word. So she took a bite of the gummy.
“No,” said Camila, “The whole thing. Eat the whole thing.” She pushed it into Susan’s mouth. It tasted fine so Susan ate it.
“Do you feel anything?” asked Camila.
“No,” said Susan, “You?”
“Weird,” she types into Google translate, “I feel weird.”
They sat like that for awhile. Eventually, she did feel something. Her eyes didn’t hurt so much and her headache was gone. Then they ate these little ju-jube candies that were and all of the sudden, Susan’s whole head felt like it was burning a little from the inside.
“I don’t feel so good,” said Susan.
“Are you sleepy?” asked Camila.
“No, my brain is burning.”
“Oh. I sleepy so I go to bed now.”
“Okay,” said Susan, “Good night.”
“You go to bed, too.”
“No, I’m not tired.”
This scene played out five times. Camila would tell Susan to go to bed. Susan would say no. Camila would say she’s going to bed so Susan should go to bed, too. Susan would say no. Over and over and over again. This is weird, thought Susan, why does she want me to go to sleep so bad? Camila kind of stomped her feet and closed the door to the women’s room.
Susan was anxious. So she went to Apartment 2 where Lara, the owner of the hostel, was seated at the table with her laptop.
“Lara,” said Susan, “I know this is– I just had a gummy with marijuana in it and I don’t– my legs are really heavy. Can I sit down?” She plops onto the floor.
“What?!” said Lara. Susan hands her the wrapper, explained what happened and why she doesn’t want to sleep in the same room anymore. Lara laughed at first but soon her face got serious. And then she seemed to lighten up again. Was this serious or was it funny? Susan couldn’t tell any more and she certainly didn’t feel good. Lara went into Mother Mode.
“Okay. All right,” said Lara, “Listen, you’re going to be okay. You’re just over-stimulated. You need to lay down in a dark room and rest. It’ll wear off.”
“Please don’t make me go back to that other room,” said Susan.
Lara said she wouldn’t make her go back there again and brought her to one of the dorms in Apartment 2. Susan laid down on one of the beds while Lara and Sofia brought all of Susan’s stuff from the other room.
When I started writing this story, I thought it quite funny. It was supposed to be a nostalgic stoner story with a redemptive ending where Jesus got the glory. I would be the failure, the clown, the joker, the one people would laugh at ‘cause that’s what I do. I make people laugh. And Jesus would love me because that’s what He does. He loves the sinner. Maybe people would see just how good he was.
When this actually happened, it made it’s way around the hostel and people seemed to enjoy it very much. The little white Christian letting loose with her roommate who tried to sleep with her. Oh ha ha ha. Absolutely delightful. Since they made light of it, I thought, you know, maybe they’re right. Maybe I need to lighten up.
However, writing the story was different. The more details I remembered, the less funny it became. Like, how much THC did I actually take? How could I be so stupid? Why did Camila shove the rest of the gummy in my mouth? Why was she so insistent I go to bed? Why couldn’t my first ‘no’ be enough? Is there nothing problematic about what happened? No red flags? Is everybody okay with this?
I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to make of this story.
When I wrote it all down, it reminded me why I stopped doing weed after everything with my friends in the FTA. It gave me confidence knowing that I did the right thing when I left the hostel a couple weeks ago and quit. My conscious is clear. It’s like Jesus picked me up, dusted me off and sent me on my way. I get to start all over again.
And then I realized, even though I have absolutely NO CLUE where this story is going or what just happened and why it fell apart–it stayed true to what I set out to do. There were three things that needed to happen in this story: a) A minute rebellion; b) A subsequent demise, and; c) A most triumphant restoration. Jesus restored me. The moment I repented and walked away from what I was doing before, He restored me. It was in the telling of this story that I could see it– I could see Him working behind the scenes– and the main person who needed to read it was me.