Watching Music and Cigaret Smoke

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

This is a poem that I wrote about my best friend. He suffered a lot, but I always believed he was a piece of artwork of poetry and I always wanted him to believe that to.

Watching his face as he listened to music was always my favorite thing.

He wouldn’t speak.

We would sit on his bathroom floor.  I would see the music dance through the air and he would keep his eyes closed.

His face would stay blank until the music shifts and his lips contort into a smile.

As the music fades, so does the positive sensation in the room.

In the silence, he slowly opens his eyes.  It’s clear on his face that he’d forgotten where he was.

“Everything is going to be okay.”

His eyes shoot towards me as if they could attack me or hurt me.  He stands up and storms out the door.  I can hear the screaming coming from the other room as he opens it.

The door slams and all I can hear is my heavy breathing.  I wonder what goes through his head.  I want to know what he’s feeling. 

That night, we went out to a record store with his closest group of friends.

We all screamed at each other about our tastes in music and made a ruckus of the place until we were inevitably kicked out.

We all ran down the streets and teased him for being so out of shape.  He would collapse to the ground laughing and screaming, “Go on without me!”

We lifted him back onto his feet and half carried him to the pizza place.

I watched him skip a meal.  I watched his smoke and mirrors of laughs and cracking jokes.

When we had a moment alone I reminded him of all the meals he skipped and he just rolled his eye.

I watched his thigh gap ad he walked away and I cringed as his skinny jeans hung baggily from him.

We ended out outing with his friends on a roof of a random building.  No one was being honest with each other.  People were wearing more than masks.  People were wearing full-blown costumes that came with their own stages and sets.

I watched his best friend do drugs and I watched him want to say something but hold back.

Everything was a performance, and he was the lead.

The memory of the night fades into the back of my mind as I sit alone in the silent bathroom.

By the time I open the door, the screaming stopped.  I creep down the hall and her door is open.

I watch him lay beside her.  “Everything is going to be okay,” he whispers.  She shakes too hard to respond.  He moves a lock of hair out of her face, “everything will get better for you soon.”

I tiptoe away and travel down to the kitchen to get both of us a glass of water.  By the time I go upstairs, he is back in his room guitar in hand.

Watching him play music was my second most favorite thing.  Every movement he would make felt natural.

Mid song he stops, “Do you want a cigarette?”

We both know the exact window to climb out of to reach the roof of his house. We sit in silence for a while, enjoying out poison.  He finally breaks the tension, “The night terrors are up to nightly now.”  I don’t know what to say.  “I’m the only one who can calm her down and I don’t know if I can do it anymore.” “You don’t have to.” “Yes I do.”

By the time we climb into bed, the silence feels like music.  The tension in the air feels like the tension pulling on the strings of an instrument.  Our beating hearts only inches away from each other play the part of the drums.

“I’m not a poet.” He turns to face away from me.  I correct him, “I didn’t say you were a poet.  I said that you are poetry.”  He continues facing the wall.  I try to find the words, “I don’t know how to say this, but one of the reasons you’re my friend is because you’re a muse.  When I’m with you I can fill a book with poetry, take a thousand photos, and play music for days.  You are art, you create art, and you make people create art.  You are poetry.”

He stays silent for a while.  I become afraid, but later I learn that he just didn’t know what to say.  He was flattered rather than insulted.

The next morning, I watch his parents deal with his sister’s medications, schedule his sister’s therapy, getting his sister’s ready for the day because she could never find the point in getting out of bed, and I watched him skip another meal.  He didn’t need smoke and mirrors this time.  I watch everyone scurry out the door, leaving him.

I hug his skin and bones all dressed in black.  He disguises himself as a burnt out match to let his parents feel okay for over passing him.  He thinks it was easy to not notice him.  He lets himself shrink to show everything that he’s disappearing.  I don’t think he realizes that his match is still burning.  You can see it if you watch him listen to music. 

Submitted: November 08, 2014

© Copyright 2021 Katya Yermakova . All rights reserved.

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