“The Hive” by Elaina Acosta Ford
You tiptoe through the dark labyrinth of the Hive until you reach the tiny room where you’ve spent every Thursday night for the last couple of months toiling away to no avail. The stench of Gouda, Kathleen’s patchouli, and the tang of potentially unfulfilled dreams waft through the air. A metal chair screeches against the gray linoleum when you pull it out, causing everyone to gawk at you. Kathleen rolls her eyes but does not relent. The weak smile spreading across your face fades as you remind yourself that this is the last time you’re going to see these people—your people. You promise yourself that you won’t sip wine or munch crackers or make small talk when this is all over. Saying goodbye is hard enough without all the empty calories and tedious chatter. You swear to yourself this is going to be the last time you pay to play. Your pocketbook and soul can’t take it anymore.