Click. Nothing — you cursed. With trembling hands, you tried again: thumb on the spark-wheel, and the tiniest, little flame danced its way into existence. In one swift, hurried motion, you brought it to the tip of your cigarette.
For a brief moment where the flickering flame playfully lapped at the cigarette filter, its luminous, captivating blue at the bottom and sudden transition into a gorgeous orange was reflected in your eyes. I watched, 2 small steps away from you, entranced, as the gentlest wisps of grey smoke curled and made their way toward me.
A deep inhalation — the initial embers intensified in colour and crept along the length of your smoke. With slightly glazed-over eyes and a kaleidoscope of white blown out from your mouth, you tapped on the cigarette case with its last, remaining tube and raised an eyebrow at me.
Sorry, I don’t smoke
Words that came rushing out too soon before my brain fully realised what I’d just admitted to. A smirk made its way to your face. Then a full, deep-throated laughter emitted from the depths of your belly.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. Spots of heat crept along my cheeks: I would have wished myself dead if I could have. But the event which transpired between us made me glad I couldn’t, and that I didn’t.
I would never forget the sparks that flew when those warm, calloused hands brushed against my fingers. How electrifying, with shivers shooting down the back of my spine — did you feel them too? The meeting of your nicotine-tinged tongue and mine in the next moment told me everything I needed to know.
Years later, when all that was left of our relationship was a pile of smouldering ashes, I would come to understand that I had held you wrong, and that my utter dependence on you violated the meaning of love in its entirety. How I loved you could not have been love at all: it was selfish, it was cruel, it was unkind. I wanted you to make me — not us! — happy.
Rough paper between my knuckles, warm. I watch the ribbon of white tendril twist and waltz in rhythm with the direction of the wind. A deep breath in, and the smoke fills my lungs. I held it in— relieving that night. I had grasped your hands, and you had cradled mine. But time does not care for sentimentalism: it simply is, it simply flows — stretching to the future in an infinite, unmeasurable manner. I have to let you go, the same way I had to let us go.