Last night Shelly had told her parents she was at the library studying for finals, and tonight Shelly said she was going to be at Roxie’s preparing for lab exams when really she went to the outdoor ice rink to meet Ben for another taste of the green stuff. In her thoughts that’s how she referred to weed. Ganja, chronic, Mary Jane, grass. All those nick names she had heard in the halls of high school — the ones that made her roll her eyes — were too potent to use when arranging meet ups with Ben, or telling herself that it was OK she was smoking it.
She found Ben sitting on the bench by the ice rink, under a snow capped pine tree. Ben had swept away the snow on the bench, as close to himself as possible. She brushed the snow off at the opposite end of the bench and sat. It wasn’t cold out enough to cuddle with Ben, if that’s what he was expecting.
“I’d like you to meet Magic Mint,” Ben said, stretching out his arm, and laying in the palm of his hand was a rainbow stripped glass pipe.
“A pipe. Why not bring the bong, or the vaporizer? You could’ve at least brought the bong you made out of a Dr. Pepper bottle,” Shely said, and looked out into the snow covered field. She should’ve stayed home tonight.
“Yes, but those aren’t concealable. Plus, it’s cold out. Air’ll be nice on the throat.”
“Precisely. It’s cold out. I don’t want to freeze smoking the green stuff.”
“You mean weed,” Ben said. She should’ve stayed home, studied, surfed the Internet, played Dragon Age, not sit on this bench beside this asshole.
“No I mean the green stuff,” Shelly barked, crossing her arms. He rolled his eyes.
“Just try something new with me. Sure it’s cold out, but maybe that’ll feel better than being cramped in my hot apartment. And you asked me to smoke with you, so you could try something new in the first place. I don’t see the difference now,” Ben said, and stuffed the pipe back into his back pack. He stood up, when she yanked him back down.
“Fine. I’ll try it,” Shelly said. Ben smiled.
He handed her the pipe. She put her lips around the end, held the lighter above the bowl, covered the shotgun with her thumb.
“Don’t suck on it,” he said, and she giggled.
She lit the green stuff, and was happy Ben was beside her to make sure she didn’t set herself on fire.
Shelly let go of the shotgun, and inhaled. The back of her throat burned like she had breathed in fire, but Ben was right — the cold air was soothing.
Leaning into his shoulder, she considered surprise kissing Ben on the cheek. Rather, she closed her eyes, and thought about the green stuff.
Shelly didn’t smoke it because she wanted to try something new. If that was the case, then she’d finally try sushi or bungie jumping with Ben. It was because she wanted to tell stories like her friends did. If she ever had kids, she wanted to tell them she smoked weed, then tell them if she ever caught them smoking, she’d toe them to their beds, lock the door, and bar the windows, just like her parents told her.
It didn’t seem so cold out sitting beside Ben.