For the first time in sixteen years, three months and twenty eight days, I heard a hum from my chest, instead of tobacco fireflies.
It hurt to move because every joint flickered and cracked with momentum of the slight embers at the end of your cigarette. Reinforcement sucks.
I tried to let go of the silence that strangled us together when I was too weak to break away.
[That’s all I ever used you for, you little bitch]
I needed to get over one so I used you till I could. Too bad you got to throw me away first like little bits of inhaled nicotine. [I can still smell it in the air]
“You’re just as irritating as you used to be.” My forehead polluted with signs of disgust and my perfume mixed with his smoky scent.
He smirked under his breath, as his lips crushed against mine with disdain and sincere, almost unwanted longing. “You’re just as broken as you used to be.”
I closed my eyes and pulled his hair so he’d come closer [he always knew what to do] but I ignored the part of me that was using him, but being used. “…touché,” I whispered breathlessly.
For the first time in sixteen years, three months and twenty eight days, I saw tar at the corner of my sleeve.
I woke up with cigarettes in my hair and turned around to find you with your tongue in my ear. And it felt right.
You rolled over on your side and said that love could be lustful, dropping your dignity in the shower again.
[I used you, I used you, and I used you]
There was always something about the way you sighed and whispered, “Summer,” in my hair. I felt the strands dampen with the passion in your voice and the warmth trickle all the way between my shaky legs.
“This doesn’t mean anything,” I breathed.
“You’re never coming back! I’d never let you in!” Shouts broke the kitchen walls down with serendipity and tension. “I’m just lonely and you know that.” Please see right through me, please see right through me.
He laughed with mock written all over his arms. “I’d never come back had you not let me in. You know that!”
I stormed toward his looming figure over the fireplace, grinding our souls together so we’d both perish once and for all. But then his hands reached my face and we danced yet again. We danced through the debris falling in our eyes.
For the first time in sixteen years, three months and twenty eight days, I preferred you holding my waist, rather than swinging your arm over my shoulder.
I preferred your lips on mine rather than your tongue in my ear.
And I preferred my dreams in my mind rather than crushed between your feet.
And I liked it better when I hated you so I didn’t go back, thirsty for your lips again.
Your breath smells like nicotine on the corner of my tar-stained sleeve and all I want now is for you to chant my mantras about you with me. You’d do that for me, won’t you?
[I used you for every damned thing, didn’t I, you little bitch?]
It’s better to be alone than to be a freak with voices in your head. It’s always better. He isn’t you aren’t real. You never were. Those icy green eyes were only a reflection of the sun on the leaves of that boulevard which doesn’t exist anymore. He isn’t real, he isn’t real.
My mantra suddenly felt clouded.
You aren’t real. You aren’t real…
but somehow I still know you are.
Orooj-e-Zafar is a sixteen-year-old author whose flair for writing is evident in every piece she has written. From poetry to chapter stories to vignettes, she attempts to write every kind of literature. Though she has a lot to learn, her unique gift in this particular art has given her a distinct place in the writer’s community today.
Illustration courtesy of Getty Images.