Smoke & Mirrors
She’s back again tonight. The girl and her cigarettes. She hasn’t been by in a few weeks, but she’s out there tonight in her oversized denim jacket, tight-fitted jeans and high heels. She always stops across the street from the house and smokes in the park under the streetlight. She can’t see me – probably doesn’t know I’m even here – but from my room, with the light off, I can see her perfectly. It’s eerily beautiful.
I wonder a lot about who she is, where she comes from and why she smokes here sometimes. Is she running away from something? I used to think she was waiting for someone to meet her, but it’s always the same. She stops, gets out, lights a cigarette, smokes 1, sometimes as many as 3 or 4, gets in her car and drives away. I imagine her with an older boyfriend who isn’t that nice to her, and she has to come here to find some peace and quiet and dark anonymity. I imagined she was a hooker once, in heels like that. But so many times she just looks so nice. When she first started coming (or I first started noticing), I thought she couldn’t have been older than 15 and she still does sometimes. Other times, she looks much older – mid 20s, I guess. Tonight she’s dressed older. She’s worn her hair in a fancy up-do with a lot of pins, but she carelessly pulls them all out and shakes her long hair out.
I imagine her as a singer, someone who has a soul full of music inside. She has art and champagne and jasmine-scented roses inside of her. She plays guitar all weekend and works as a waitress on weekdays, writing new songs constantly. The cold and the cigarettes help her think, give her new ideas, clear her head and give her time and space away from everything.
She’s finished her cigarette – only one tonight – and is carefully, carefully pinning her hair back up with a twist and a jab. She pulls a bottle of perfume from her purse and sprays herself. I imagine jasmine and roses again while wondering who she’s hiding from. She opens her car door and I see her face glistening. We both pause. Then, like she heard me breathe again, she looks directly at my window and I back away. She can’t have seen me, but she smiles to herself anyway. A weak smile, one that says, “I can’t.” This girl surrounded by smoke gets in her car and drives away. As her headlights fade, I imagine her going somewhere happy. I look in the mirror.
And I wonder what a cigarette tastes like.
Written while watching someone watching someone else. Meta-creeping, if you will.
"Those who keep silence hurt more..." ~ C.S. Lewis