Isaac picks me up from the train at Central Square, Lynn, with his cousin from Puerto Rico. As we walk down the street, Isaac tells me his cousin needs one more dollar. "Why?"
"Well, you smoke, right?"
"Nah, not anymore. I quit. I quit." I'm confused as to why I need a dollar for a pack of cigarettes that I won't smoke.
"Nah, nah." He's laughing at me. "Not cigarettes."
"Oh." I laugh too. "Of course I smoke that."
"Good. So can I get the dollah?"
Halfway down the street, we meet up with Chachi, a short girl wearing scrubs and looking tired. Isaac introduces us, and then his cousin pulls a few folded bills, including my dollar, and hands them to Chachi, who pulls out a little bag of weed with a lopsided smile. "You ready to get fucked up?"
A block later, we're climbing up creaking wooden stairs in a small blue apartment building. Third floor, and Isaac says, "Yo Casey, wanna meet my moms?"
"Aright." He opens the door and a short Puerto Rican woman twists around from the Spanish soap she's watching and smiles up at me. Three of his younger sisters run around with wavy hair and bright faces, laughing at nothing at all.
Across the hall is Chachi's apartment, and we go to her bedroom. It's got crooked red bunk beds, a dresser, and a mirror propped up against the wall. There's a small glass table with a huge stereo and some lotion. Isaac's cousin takes the bag and empties it onto the table, methodically and patiently putting the seeds and stems to one side. He then takes a cigar out of his pocket, empties it of the tobacco, and refills it slowly with the weed. He rolls the blunt carefully; licking the paper gently and making it stick in a perfect cylinder. He uses the end of his shoelace to push the leaves in at the end, making an end to smoke from. Lighting it, we settle in.
Chachi sits on the floor, Isaac and his cousin on the bottom bunk, and I'm in a creaking white chair. We pass the blunt in a circle, taking long breaths of beautiful smoke and holding it in until we cough. Chachi starts talking about taking a music pill, laughing as she tells us how she walked up and down her street in a blanket, nodding her head to a beat that didn't exist. "That shit was fuckin' crazy." We sit in peaceful silence, letting it go to our heads. Even as we finish, there is a lingering mist of exhaled smoke.
As we sit there, quietly, I'm wondering where Chachi got an IZOD fleece, and why her bedroom is the size of a bathroom in a Newton house. I'm wondering why none of us are in school today, and why half the words spoken are in Spanish. I'm wondering why this world accepts me.