We ride in his expensive car, passing the joint between our mouths. Up, up, he shifts on the straightaways. Down, down, he shifts in the corners, throwing me into the passenger door. He looks at me with those blue eyes—they’ll be the death of me I’ve decided—and laughs. He is laughing in the face of the Reaper. I am laughing because I am too high to care. His hands grip the steering wheel like my heart has held on to this desperate, stupid crush. Since high school. Then he moved away. Then I turned twenty.

Then he came back from the city with a biohazard sign tattooed on his neck.

It isn’t his only ink nor his only scar. He was proud when he showed me the bumpy skin across his ribs where concrete took his flesh—a toll paid by a motorcycle crash. Then there was the long slice from a knife on his back from some altercation in the city.

But when it comes to scars, you see, I win.

He laughed when I pointed out I was very familiar with a knife, as evidenced by the crisscrossing of white and pink lines down my skin. I could have told him where each mark had come from too but would he have cared?

Watching him as he inhales the smoke from the joint, eyes squinting into the sunset, I don’t want to hear my answer. I shake my head and chuckle to myself. He grins at me as if he’s in on the joke.

Tonight it’s a party by the skate park with characters more damaged than I am. I went to school with most of these kids. Their eyes flick to me briefly before settling on him with wide smiles and exaggerated gestures. His presence is the power that makes me one of them tonight. The sound of boards cracking on metal pipes, the smell of cigarettes, the taste of liquor—it blurs and I stumble off to the abandoned playground to sit on the swing set and stare at the stars. They are infinite and we, we are impermanent.

A fact I know too well this year—my mother lost to me in January.

My long-time boyfriend then, he left, in March.

And Laura, my best friend, Laura. I had jeopardized that with a kiss—not sure if I was in love or searching for comfort.

The stars wink at me and I resist the urge to yell. How dare they go on, go on for their billions of years. Their presence filling what could be otherwise haunted, dark nights with ethereal beauty.


And it’s Blake coming to me, squatting in front of my swing with a bag of white powder in his fist. Cocaine? I am suddenly annoyed. Weed and underage drinking I could handle but the hard shit? I don’t know. My annoyance fades and I go numb.

“Try it.”


He shoves a finger into my mouth and spreads a little of it over my teeth, over my upper gum. I am stunned by the violation. It isn’t enough to get me high but it is enough to get the flavor. Like fire, like defiance.

Like his kiss.

It is my first and last taste of cocaine but not my last taste of his mouth.

Originally published on Tipsy Lit.


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