Cigars, Cigarettes, Booze?
It feels like midnight to me. I've been awake forever today and I don't think I have ever walked in so many circles. As much as I dream of going back to the house to collapse upon my bed for 12 hours, I can't quite bring myself to going back to that place. I need to be alone for a little while longer.
I stop on the corner and dig through my purse. I back up slowly toward the wall of the building until my back faintly feels the freezing brick through my sweater.
“Shit. Where the fuck is my fucking cutter?” I say to myself, which warrants a look from a middle aged couple walking to the Schnitz. The symphony is playing tonight.
I gave up on the cutter. I bit off the tip of the small cigar and spat the dried tobacco leaves to the ground. With my lips grasping the end of the petite corona, I light a match and cup it against the wind and slowly suck the flame into my stogie, expelling smoke as I light. The flame runs toward my icy fingers and burns them lightly. “Shit,” I whisper as I fan the flame out and throw the charred match against the brick of the building. I lean against that icy wall and slowly draw on my smoke; a draw I wish could last forever. I let the heady flavour brandish my tongue and slowly feel that tobacco buzz come over me. I watch as my shaky hands slow themselves to a halt again.
I know it's a bad habit, but so is biting my fingernails. Sure, it's probably the most manly thing I could do too, but Jesus, the fact that I have to drive to a designated liquor store is fucked, so who gives a shit how I decide to get my high? I figure if I'm killing myself off with tobacco, it's better than killing off the planet by driving my car to the liquor store. Besides, I'm probably more likely to take someone else down while driving a car. Who the fuck decided to allow people to operate moving 2 tonne pieces of machinery? That was really smart. Yet I have to freeze my ass off to have a smoke? Good job, kids.
That's beside the point, I guess. This is what they call externalising your problems, isn't it? Some Freudian crap like that. Freud was a real pervy dude.
There I go again.
My leg kicks behind me, against the wall, and I throw myself back onto the pavement. I walk down the street and watch the lights as I walk toward the water.
I hate this city. There aren't enough lights. But I guess I like it too. I come down here to stare at the architecture sometimes. I sit and watch the buildings. Somehow, the way they were but together brings them to life. I wish they had more to say than just the boring humdrum of Portland life. The self importance of this town always infuriates me.
Why do I keep doing this? I get cynical when things bother me. I start lashing out at everything...even the fucking buildings.
The real problem is...Jesus, if only I could tell you what the real issue was. I'm angry at a friend for getting herself engaged. I'm angry that I'm so socially inept. I'm mad because boys are stupid and girls are possibly worse. I'm pissed that I can't just come out and say, “hey, I like you,” to a friend who obviously likes me back. I'm just mad...mostly at myself.
I cross the streets, paying more attention to the street lights than the 'walk' signals. I wish I could smell the river, like I can back home. Not that disgusting smell of dead fish, but the smell of the water. I guess it's kind of like what the wilderness would smell like; untamed in all of it's raw glory. Is the water here too tame? Is that the problem? Does this city capture that wilderness and treat it until its no longer a smelly issue? I don't like masking reality. Rivers are supposed to smell, at least like water. This one, doesn't.
But, that's what I'm trying to do, isn't it? Masking my problems. I'm out here, in the dark, smoking, and trying to blame everything else in the world for my short-comings. I would ask that stupid question, but I know it won't help. “Why can't I be like other girls?” The truth is, I've never wanted to be like them, but I guess I kind of am. I have a heart, it breaks, it needs fixed, and it's confused. So what gives? I've been in this place forever it seems. I hit puberty and I've been in the same place since then. It's weird. Am I ever going to grow out of this? A thousand questions that I wish I could get answers to.
Instead, I sit on the bench and watch traffic on the bridges rush past in a blur.
Philosophical questions shouldn't be asked without a bottle of single malt poised by your side. I've only had a beer tonight.
I push off the bench in a confused rage. I don't think any of this will ever make sense to me, and if it ever does, I'm not so sure it will matter by then. The roll of Honduran tobacco leaves has been smoked to a nub and it burns my lips as I try to draw every last spicy note out of it. I start to cross the street and make my way back to the house. I throw the smouldering nub in front of me and watch as it rolls back toward my feet, down the hill. I walk on top of it to stamp the remaining cinders out and leave the flattened leaves to smoke themselves out of life in the middle of this concrete nightmare.
I shove my hands in my pockets and shrink into my sweater and scarf. I've given up on tonight. You know those moments when you realise you can't do anything to ease your mind? There are two sides inside of you fighting, tearing at each other, committing acts of war. God only knows what the battle is about, but you have to give up on being the peace maker. The primal part of you takes over and you wait. You just wait. Wait for one side to win or one side to lose.