Loose Leaves

by on July 16, 2022 :: 0 comments

photo "From Earth, to Us" by Tyler Malone

“I don’t think it was the weed.”

“Something environmental?’

“Doubt it. We breathe the same air.”

“But her test scores are impossibly high.”

“She’s not.”

“Sleep hygiene?”

“You kidding? She gets up every three to four hours–something to do with an irritable bladder, I think.”

“Glad she’s your roommate, not mine.”

“But she helps me with papers.”

“You’re a design major.”

“She’s super at conceptualizing prototypes, too.”

“What does she know about fonts?”

“Serifs? Slabs? Corner rounding? Other? She’s brilliant at setting text.”

“I though she was a biology major.”

“Yes, her mind jumps around topics.”

“Yet, you want to switch rooms?”

“Please! She coughs in her sleep and sneezes constantly when awake. Headphones don’t suit me and she’s intolerant of my white noise machine.”

“A tenacious virus? A weak immune system?”




“I’ll ask my mom. That maternal progenitor mucks with plant essences. Meanwhile, figure out how to make do with your roommate.”


“Get your head out of your water pipe. Not everyone associates herbs with herb.”


“Mom probably knows a good response to your roomie’s snuffling and hacking. Let’s see what she says. Hopefully, soon, you’ll get sleep and ace your assignments. Ya know, partying more with me might help, too.”

“Whatever. Keep me posted.”


“Mom emailed back.”


“Nettles. Urtica, if you prefer Latin.”


“Natural antihistamines. Now ya gotta buy some and get her to take them.”

“Right. She doesn’t trust me. When we first moved in, she put a line of tape down the middle of our room and insisted that I stay on my side except when I had to cross over to access the door.”

“Sheesh! So why does she help with your homework?”

“Charity project? Compensation for insecurities? Why should I know? Really, I think the answer is to get my room switched.”

“No vacancies at the hot‘l this semester.”


“I already asked the chief resident assistant. She said, ‘no can do’.”

“Sigh. So, where do I buy nettles?”

“Online, from an herbalist, or from the local health food store. Mom says they’re available as loose leaves, like an herb we love, in capsules, and as tinctures. She advises a bit of tincture in water.”

“Sigh. I’ll try.”


“So, did it work?”


“Why glum? Aren’t you sleeping better?”


“Is your roommate enjoying being symptom- free?”

“Yes. In fact, appealing to her misery from her suffering made her yield to my idea. She just asked that I reassure her I wasn’t giving her any other herb.”

“You bought loose leaf?”

“Nope. Tincture. I handed her the bottle to self-dose. I think, she’s still mad about those special brownies.”

“They were good.”

“Yup. But she’s questioned my ideas ever since.”

“So, what’s wrong? No hacking. No rhinitis—I learned that word from Mom. No having a roomie with cracked red skin, a swollen face, or vomiting. Sounds like all should be well.”

“I wish.”


“Give me back my roommate with blue lips, confusion, and throat swelling, any day.”


“No, really. She no longer suffers anaphylaxis or has to be careful about what she eats.”

“So, win-win.”

“Nope; lose-lose. Her allergies were a burden, but…”

“How could there be anything more?”

“Her brain no longer swells. She’s not so smart anymore. Tell ya, she’s nearly failing Organic Chemistry and I no longer have an essay helper.”

“Hide allergens in her meals?”

“Can’t after the brownie episode.”

“Inject her with an allergen while she sleeps?”

“You’re a sicko.”

“Convince her to stop taking nettles?”

“Impossible. She’s so in love with that solution that she even enrolled in an online herbal medicine course. Soon, our room will smell of tinctures.”

“Well, then join me at the Writing Lab. There’s still a few slots available for folks needing tutoring.”

editors note:

We are the drugs we need! And if not, there are plenty of other options. ~ Tyler Malone

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