Cigarette smoke curled around her fingertips. The breeze sending tendrils of smoke along the back of her hand, creeping up her arm and wrapping themselves around her neck, hair, face. Shaky hands lifted the cigarette to violet cracked lips. She inhaled, sucking deeply, until her lungs felt ready to explode.
One mississippi … two mississippi… three mississippi… four mississippi… five mississippi… six…
Smoke rushed through the cracks, bursting her lips open, tearing a part the raw skin. She blew the smoke out the window. It blew back in, fluttering the curtains as it wrapped it’s way around her skin again. Clinging.
Somewhere down below a siren rang out. Echoing from one building to the next. The sound raced ahead too far. It stopped, momentarily, before changing course. Bouncing it’s way through the tight knit brick buildings lining the streets below the window.
Before the cigarette she had finished painting the bowl. White was too bright. Now it shone red. Fresh, gleaming in the fluorescent light. She started on the bench. She made long, curly letters, looping them together. Shining as each letter joined into the next, like little smiles hidden amongst the words.
Happiness depends upon ourselves…
The cigarette appeared on the bench beside the words. The filter smouldered, ash smudged the small patch of white still visible. Her grasp on the burnt out cigarette stumbled. Her hand slid across the bench, spreading letters into the wall, squashed by her palm. She reached for the wall with her other hand. Clinging, scratching the surface with shaky fingertips. The wall slipped. And the light went out around her.