"I blinked and..."
I blinked and waited for her room mate to put on a t-shirt. She was unselfconscious about it, taking her time to turn the shirt right-side-out before pulling it down over her bra.
I found an interesting spot on the wall and stared.
"We weren't expecting you home," Ellie said to Fiona, who was unfazed and rummaging through a desk drawer in search of... something. We had made a stop back to her apartment for one reason or another, but I was too distracted by the discolored spot on the wall to recall properly. Tim, Ellie's boyfriend, made an ungodly amount of noise on the opposite side of the couch, presumably looking for an article of clothing that would make him decent for public viewing.
I didn't really care one way or the other.
"Needed these," Fiona said, pulling a rumpled packet out of her desk drawer. Ellie silently 'ah-ed,' and Tim popped up from behind the couch.
"Oh, hey Fiona, Roxy," he said.
"Hey, Tim," Fiona said. I gave a half-hearted wave in his direction. "I won't be back for a few hours, so carry on," Fiona continued, heading toward the door. I followed.
On the street, Fiona handed me one of the last two cloves. I cupped my hands around the end while she lit the pair with a mostly-empty, highly-temperamental lighter. We both took a few draws before heading off down the block, walking with the wind to our backs, if nothing but to keep the cigarettes burning.
Fiona was the kind of girl I could have easily developed a crush on, if I had allowed myself to. But she had a boyfriend and I had issues, so I left it alone and stayed happy with the status quo.
I blinked as the wind shifted directions and kicked up dust from the street.
"You're awfully quiet," Fiona said through a full exhale of smoke. I inhaled the spicy smoke expelled from her lungs instead of taking a draw from my cigarette.
"You know... things, thinking, all that," I said, looking at her from the corner of my eye.
"You think too much, Roxy," she said. I nodded and let the comfortable silence settle between us; the smoke just blew away.
A cute Asian girl with neon blue Chucks and black skinny jeans bustled past us on the sidewalk. I felt my head start to turn, unconsciously. I blinked hard and refocused on the dull orange tip of the cigarette nestled between the index and middle fingers of my left hand. The knuckles of my right hand would occasionally brush against Fiona's as we walked. I blinked again and brought the cigarette to my lips.
"So, how's Jeff?" I asked, even though I didn't really care, but Fiona and I were friends, so we asked questions like that. How was your day? or Did you see those super-cute shoes? or, one of my favorites: Check out that guy, do you think he's cute?
Yes, I think he's friggin adorable and I want to bang him sometime into next week using all the force of my feminine wiles. Or something like that. As I said, issues.
"He's okay," she started, before beginning to rant ad infinitum about how he's insensitive and demeaning and doesn't get her and "I just thing that it must be so much easier to be a lesbian, you know?"
And I wanted to scream and shout: "No, Fiona, you don't know. You have no idea what it's like to be a lesbian. To have this constant weight in the middle of your chest that's equal parts longing and loneliness and pure anger; because everyone judges you and if they don't judge you, they feel for you and I don't want someone to feel for me, I just want everyone to treat me exactly the same as they would anyone else. But you wouldn't know any of this, dear Fiona, because I've never told you, because I have secrets too, and NO I don't think that guy is cute, but, HEY, your roommate does have a pretty sweet rack."
Instead, I blink, and I blink again, and make a non-committal noise in the back of my throat like, yes, of course I know what you're feeling, and she natters on while I take another deep breath of tobacco and sweetener and earth-licorice-spice-clove - the last of the pack - blinking and blinking and blinking until the repetition calmed me like the burn of smoke in my chest.
nt - 4/23/10
Notes: Learn about CLOVES!
*Prompt taken from The Write Brain Workbook: 366 Exercises to Liberate Your Writing by Bonnie Neubauer