Cigarette.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
You left because I'm selfish. Because I don't plan and I let the currents flow through me.

Submitted: December 20, 2011

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Submitted: December 20, 2011

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You left because I am selfish. Because I don’t plan and because I let the currents flow through me. You left because I cannot stand conformity and because our clashes were silent and our morals refused to let us agree. You said we were different, too fundamentally different to be one. But only half of that was true, because we were different, and fundamentally so, but we were also one. 

 

I am not the bird you thought I was. I’m not free like that. And even if I was, I heard once that even the birds are chained to the sky. So I am chained to you. The currents that flow through me are the ones that gravitate towards you. 

 

To you, I cannot lie, but I leave a lot out when I tell the truth. When I write I tell the truth and in this story there’s a lot left out. Even if I lie, I’ll try not to be selfish. I’ll try to remember that this is for you and I can’t be selfish because that’s what you think I am and I have to say what’s true because that’s what I said I’d do. 

 

So I admit that you’re almost gone. That I forgot long ago who it was that I was writing for. I started forgetting as you walked out my door on that last Sunday. 

Before you left, I asked, ‘Do you think looks are important?’

You said, ‘No, not at first.’

The way you said it made me think that maybe we weren’t ‘at first’ anymore. That’s when I knew that the hazy brilliance of longing had lifted. That’s when I knew the edges had become clear and the colours dull. That’s when I knew that you were gone. 

 

In the beginning, we were happy. When Friday came around, we’d pack your car and drive it North. We’d stop where it pleased us, by the sea or beneath the gums, and drink cheap wine as you showed me how to smoke your cigarettes and the sky turned orange and pink and red. Eventually, when all the stars were up and our fire was just a few glowing embers, we’d climb into our tent and sleep. When it was time to leave, we’d pack up and I’d sit close beside you on the bench seat of your old Holden. And when you kissed me goodnight and your weekend whiskers scratched my face I didn’t think, ‘shave’, I thought, ‘stay’.

 

You left before I did. You were leaving all the time, even when you said you never would. I watched you walk away as I leant against the wooden frame of my front door and I learnt never to trust you. I knew the last time when it came. The last weekend, the last kiss and the last of that cheap wine all held a sickening familiarity. I was removed when it happened, distant, and I thought about looking back on those last moments from a future time when my nose had become porous and my breathing laboured from your cigarettes. Maybe one day it would seem like a long time ago, I thought. But deep within me I knew better. Nothing is a long time ago. 

 

After your Holden was gone and when the most minute amount of will power had crept back into my limbs, I turned to the table and picked up the only token I had of the destruction you’d brought. The methodic breathing and the nicotine that came with it cleared my mind and took the edge off the oncoming pain.

 

I can’t see you now. I don’t know where all the pictures of us have gone, or if there ever were any. I know it was you who taught me to smoke but I can’t remember exactly when. All the places we saw are nameless to me now, merely still pictures in my mind, with as much meaning in them as greeting cards from the local council. The only scene I can recreate is that one sunset, the sun halfway into the sea as the dying light reflected and refracted on the crests of water, and me, half drunk and throwing my dead cigarettes into the fire. 


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