The first five to arrive in Sprite's woodsy family cabin unpacked quickly. There were kimonos for everyone and foam crowns to bedazzle. We all showed off our snacks. I told the group I felt like I was in 4th grade again, bringing a literal suitcase of doll clothes to a friend's house just to sort of marvel at it all and not really to put it on my Bitty Baby, or even, for that matter, hold my Bitty Baby. I ate a bunch of fancy cheese. I ate like I had never eaten before. Hoof said, "Me too. I am so snacky! I wonder if its because I am in a safe space." It's a joke and it's not a joke.
When the final two arrived we played a game that involved drawing cartoons with dry-erase markers. In between we chattered about our lives and Roxanne Gay and singlehood and pain tolerance, and wow are women amazing. A medical head of Cook County Hospital. Four JDs. 6 out of 7 of us have been into prisons?! An all-star roller derby champ. We flipped the sand timer and also discussed the Chicago police chief. I said I have been thinking about becoming a cop, and no one laughed at me. "You would be a good cop," they said.
After the glitter tatts it was time for the fire. We wrote out what we want to rid ourselves of and went around the circle burning the scrap papers one at a time. Strained relationships, Catholicism, the fear of moving, the error of being a failure. Into the pit. A marshmallow got stuck in my fur hood. I don't want to wash it. Every time I put on my coat I smell firewood. One house far away on a hill, we blared femme pop music and danced. We channeled the Crucible. I always felt someone was missing. Hunny, drunk, slurred about her passed grandma who she believes haunts her. There were no wrong answers. When my teammates were too wine competitive for charades I sat on the carpet and had my tarrot cards read. The message was clear. It soothed me. "I guess you shouldn't become a cop," Nasty said. I guess not.
We all skittered to the basement. A large room with bunk beds. I chose a top. In the middle of the night, time unclear, I had to throw up. It was pitch black. My period had started. Summoned? I felt empty in the good way.