Half slurs and cold, sticky hands glued to heavy-bottom glass jars. The music bounces against the weighted, black fire door; people dance, drink, drown inside.
We stand, damp from the drizzle, cramped under the small, striped canopy. Our elbows meet as my lips melt around the end of a Chesterfield menthol. You smile, tenderly. I pass you the half-sized, white stick and your heavy lids pull back with gratitude.
There’s something so intimate about sharing a cigarette with someone. How their lips curve and bend around the stump—almost into a whisper. In that moment I understand, we understand, everything. As the smoky haze surrounds us we create a world blinded, protected from ‘the others’.
For the last time you tease your lips with the brush of the cigarette. Your crammed eyebrows twitch, and you throw the discarded tab onto the concrete floor. Stepping back inside, I watch you through the lunette window, wandering around the labyrinth as David Bowie clogs the air.
Tomorrow I’ll wake up with the dingy reminiscence of you, that moment. The pack of twenty plus pints to match, steamed to my hair and stained on my fingertips.
I’ll wince, remembering the haze, the whisper, the stale life.