You are sitting in the window of your apartment smoking a cigarette like you have so many times before and you think it bothers your roommate, but you do it anyway. There are people shuffling outside at the bus stop and the bus is late again, but no one complains. A young man lifts a paper bag to his lips and winces before saying something to the woman you presume to be his girlfriend and she doesn’t respond. It is snowing and the sky is white and you are cold in the window in your t-shirt and panties and your legs are smooth because you finally have a reason to shave them.

There is a man that you are seeing that you like and this is something. He has asked you to meet his friends and you didn’t say no or become distant, but instead gathered the clothing scattered across your bedroom floor and put it in the wash so that when he comes over later you look like you have your shit together. You scrub the sink with the absent, circular motion of someone who has done this before, with the same expectations. You hang a picture on the wall.

You look at yourself in the dim light of the bathroom mirror and think that you look older, but then the man at the gas station asks for your driver’s license, and you hand it to him with a twenty-dollar bill and he asks you when you started smoking and you tell him that you have since you were young. Since things became difficult. You strike the pack against your hand, tear the cellophane away and stuff it in your pocket. You climb the stairs to your apartment and there is more graffiti on the railing, but you have never seen them do it – it sprouts up unannounced like violence, like weeds. You sit on the steps outside your door and slide a cigarette from the pack and the sun is dropping out of the sky behind the long line of tall buildings and a man rides by on his bicycle singing show tunes. You light up.


Read the rest of this haunting tale in SN7: Women’s Day, coming out August 26th!