I look down at my phone’s screen again, squinting against the glare. “Do you have any Aleve and if so can you bring them to class?” I hesitate before hitting send. I need it and I shouldn’t feel any trepidation when it comes to asking for them. I know she knows I have this problem, I think she understands. I just feel stupid for not remembering to bring my own Aleve, Tylenol or Bayer. I forgot the acetaminophen, naproxen sodium, ibuprofen, aspirin at home. The bottles are sitting across my desk and the tiny tube of pills I keep in my wallet is painfully empty. The text happens after the panic attack, after my hands stop shaking, after I am left completely dumbfounded with the question “what do I do?” I feel bad for asking for it but I need it. I feel pathetic for being so dependent on little oblong white and little oval blue pills. I’m angry I need them to function, that I can’t function on my own.
I am sitting in class, waiting, staring down at the phone waiting for the screen to light up. If she doesn’t text back I need to scrape up any loose change I have in my bag and run over to the bookstore and buy something. I’ll be missing class either way. I’ll either be physically absent or mentally absent.
“I made all kinds of noise walking all the way over here,” she disrupts my thinking process. I look up and she’s pulling out a huge bottle of Advil, the ones you get at Costco or BJ’s. I don’t even know what to say. I unscrew the top, tip it over and six tumble out.
“Can I take some for later?” I ask.
“Yeah,” she sits down, situating herself in her seat and the bag on the air vent next to her. I curl my fingers around the six dark green liquid pills in my palm. I dig my wallet out, dig out the pill tube and let four tumble in. I take the last two with a sip of water.
“Thank you,” I say after I swallow them and I mean it.
“You should be grateful, I rattled all the way across campus for you,” she smiles.
I am. I really am.