we were sitting on the swings at a park in the aftermath of a snowstorm. you asked me if i had any cigarettes and i told you no. i don’t know how many times i’ve told you i don’t smoke and i don’t have any cigarettes, but it never seems to strike a chord with you, and i guess i get that. smokers have a certain sick sad desperation to their vice. wow, that sounds redundant. what i’m trying to say is despite the insurmountable odds that i don’t have a cigarette, you still always ask me if i do. maybe it’s not desperation. maybe it’s hope. faith in what is most likely not true.
you were glowing. you were always one of those girls who made sense bundled up in the middle of colorado winter. your cheeks looked good with a little extra red to them.
“that’s okay,” you said about the cigarette, “because i have this invisible cigarette.”
you spared no artistic expense with this. you reached into your jacket and pulled out an invisible package of cigarettes. you pulled out one cigarette.
“phew. last one.” you said, “unless you want one, in which case i have one more?”
“no, i’m good,” i said. you looked a little disappointed.
you put the invisible box back in your jacket and swinging a little you pulled out an invisible lighter. i watched you actually inhale. you were smiling. one of those good smiles. one of those true smiles that wasn’t based on some social situation that makes you feel obliged to smile. you were experiencing actual joy, sitting in that park, freezing our asses off.
and then for the high point of your performance, you blew out cold air, and i swear to god, you somehow made it billow like actual smoke.
“very well played,” i said.
“thank you, thank you,” you threw your fake cigarette onto the ground, “fake cigarettes aren’t the same though. they don’t have any sense of danger to them. you don’t feel any fire in your lungs,”
“i wouldn’t know. i’ve never smoked,” i said.
“yes, you have,”
“no. no i have not,”
“you’re a fucking liar,” you said, “i distinctly remember last time we were drunk in denver, you were chain-smoking,”
“i don’t remember this at all, so clearly it never happened,” i said.
“you are a liar,”
“why are we out in this?” i asked.
“because we both are twenty-four and living at home,”
“yeah, i didn’t see that one coming,” i said.
“you have nothing to be ashamed of,” you said to me, in that sympathetic way you say everything, “you are just in limbo between places,”
“i guess that’s true,”
“i, on the other hand, am a bum,”
“no, you’re not.”
my sympathy didn’t sound as good as yours.
“yeah, i kind of am. rich parents are a blessing and a curse. the blessing is they show their affection towards you through money, the curse is the same,”
“your parents love you,”
“i’m not denying that. some days it just feels like their world is moving too fast and sometimes it’s a dry cleaning ticket that gets lost in the madness, or a pair of car keys, but sometimes it’s me,”
i don’t think you, or most people for that matter, realize how often they talk in poetry.
“wanna make out?” i asked, smiling some deadbeat frozen smile.
“you’re funny,” you said, but i wasn’t trying to be funny. maybe it was a poor word choice on my part, or maybe we were just gonna keep on living in this land of indecision. maybe we’re destined to swing back and forth together in this white nothingness at some time between night and morning.
COPYRIGHT BRICE MAIURRO 2013
READ 02.20, THE NEXT ENTRY IN THE 28 DAY 02.2013 PROJECT
02.2013 is a twenty-eight day project chronicling my february of 2013 through poetry. to read the entries from the beginning CLICK HERE