I was 17, maybe 18. Not 19 because that’s when I moved out of my parents’ home. I was with a friend, Michael, dropping him off in my mother’s car.
At his parents’ house, Michael got out and stood by the driver’s door. It was July and my window was rolled down. He had a joint in his hand and I had one in mine. Mine was lit. We passed it back and forth, inhaling summer with the smoke.
All of a sudden, a cop was at my friend’s side. Michael must have swallowed his joint, but it was too late for me to do anything except snuff the roach in the ashtray.
The cop looked past Michael to me.
Can I search your trunk?
Sure, but why?
To be quite honest, I smelled marijuana as I was driving by, and again now.
Marijuana in those days was a felony.
I can’t quite say how I was feeling or what I was thinking other than, Thank God he’s asking about the trunk and not the ashtray.
I still wanted to head off the cop so I said, Michael, are you wearing that patchouli oil? Then I looked at the cop and said, Officer, my mother is always complaining it smells like marijuana. It’s true, she was.
The cop looked at Michael. Michael, with all sincerity, told him he was wearing the oil and pointed to the patch of skin between his brows. He bent toward the cop, offering his forehead as proof.
The cop hesitated before leaning in, his nose almost brushing Michael’s skin. The cop inhaled and I held my breath.
Okay, he said. I’ll buy it.
The cop drove off and then I exhaled.