Yesterday was my 19th birthday

A night full of smoke, my white Bic lighter was the frailest flame, flaring up for a few seconds, just in time to flicker out. (One time, a girl loaned me her gold lighter, and I didn’t know how to use it, and she laughed at me.) The night was heavy and still except for us stirring it around. We were lighters ourselves: tiny spots of light in a dark infinity, like all the glitter spilled on the carpet in my second grade classroom. (I used to crawl on the floor with tape on my hands and pick up the glitter. Looking back, I retrospectively imagine galaxies on my tiny, pink palms. Memories clutter my head like so much trash on the beach.)

The drugs were acrid.
The smoke was thin.
The pills were white as my virgin skin.

We staggered past our dorms where our friends were sleeping. We were awake like bad children. I didn’t know much about biology, and he drew a diagram for me in the window. I have more scars than my car, but just barely. He tried his best to consume me, but I was rotten on the inside. I am the only one allowed to know my souring parts, and I will scrape them out with a spoon and rearrange them into a balance that only makes sense to me. I dared him to hurt me knowing that I am the only one who’s mastered that art, and in the end, I will be the dominator, and I will demonstrate how to smoke my body like a cheap cigarette. We thought we were adults the moment we were old enough to buy tobacco, but all the clergy tell us we have never been younger. I let the numbers float away from me like the smoke that seeps into my fingers. I can’t completely rid myself of the scent. Maybe next year I will come clean.

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