Saturday Night Sunday Morning
> Hey you.
I took a long drag and handed her my lighter over my head.
The flint struck twice and I heard her inhale sharply behind me and as I slid over to my left, she sat on the step above me. Her legs brushed my arm and it felt like forever.
She handed my lighter over my shoulder.
> You’ve been out here a while – you cool?
>> Yeah. Just taking some air. Watching the sunrise.
She barely moved behind me. It’s not that she’s self-assured, but she just always seems to live in the moment, to be effortlessly in that ‘now’.
She barely moved but I could smell her there.
I stared at the little pile of ash I’d been dropping onto one of the leaves beside me. About four hours ago I’d been trying to smoke a cigarette all the way through without ashing so I could lay the whole thing down on it, like some weird funeral pyre. Like with everything, I’d gotten less ambitious over time and now I was just building a mound, waiting for the stem of the leaf to give. It hadn’t yet. But it was obvious to anyone that it would eventually.
She ashed through the stair-rail into the yard.
> You’ve been out here ages. A few people have been out and in since I last saw you.
… You not really in the mood?
>> Not really. Didn’t fancy it really.
I rattled the packet and looked inside. Three left. I lit another.
The smoke on this one seemed lazy. Just seemed to hang around at chin level for a couple of seconds before drifting away from me.
I blew through the clustered smoke and watched it push away from the centre, and then watched the outer ring follow half-heartedly before just dissipating where it was.
> How many of those you smoked out here?
I watched as some guy approached and then jogged past the front yard; hooded sweatshirt and nylon shorts, spaniel on a lead trotting beside him looking up sideways at him every few steps to make sure he was still there.
> Did you want to talk about it?
She had leant in so her head was next to my shoulder. I could feel her breath on me, like a magnifying glass on the morning sunlight against my skin, the hairs on my neck purring to a flat, smooth surface.
I took another drag and kept looking ahead.
>> Not really. It’s not like it actually has anything to do with me anymore.
Her hand was playing with my hair at the nape of my neck. I hadn’t felt her start to do that. I was pretty sure she wasn’t allowed to do that but to be honest, I didn’t really know the rules.
> Do you want to ask me anything?
The flush from the first floor toilet came rushing through the waste pipe against the outside wall. Someone was washing their hands and half-humming half-singing Three Little Birds. I smiled and without realising ‘this is my message to you-hoo-hoo’ slipped from my lips.
>> What would I ask you hunn?
… I don’t really know what I’m supposed to ask you.
She crossed her legs at the ankle and one of the plant pots shifted a little. She crossed them toward me which is supposed to be some significant piece of body language but it wasn’t. Not this time.
> I dunno. Who he is, how we met, what I think of him… you know, like a friend does.
The sound of her was painfully familiar. I wanted to bottle it and spray it on like a cologne. A protection. Against all of it.
>> So who is he? How did you meet?
She sighed and I could hear the smoke pouring from her mouth as she spoke and stubbed out her butt.
> I hoped we weren’t gonna be like this D. I’m just trying to move on, you know?
She pulled her legs up out of my peripheral vision but I knew she was hugging them to her chest. I could hear the tears in her eyes. And I could feel them slipping down my cheek.
>> Me too hunn.
… Me too.
This piece inspired by an Elephant Words image originally posted at http://elephantwords.co.uk/2010/01/17/front-porch/.