Thursday night. Half-peeled moon. Don walked into the living room she’ll be home late. And in almost the same breath: want to smoke a little before bed? I nodded, followed him down the hall, into the bathroom. Along the bottom of the door, he placed a wet, rolled-up towel. Opened the window. With no room to turn or sit, we leaned against the back wall, shoulder to shoulder, almost touching but not. With the utmost care, he lit the joint, rolling it between his lips. No breeze. Sweat through our jeans. The frank scent of his body. 6’6 and thick—not fat—big. When he leaned over, ashed out the window, I backed away without knowing why. Knocking his elbow against the sill, he laughed; leaned closer and closer still: you make me nervous.
When the window slammed shut, we propped it open again with a jumbo roll of toilet paper. Don re-lit the joint, said you remind me of Susan except. It wasn’t that I disliked him. When he entered a room, I simply tensed; however, I could understand his appeal. You’re not like Anthony either, in that—. It didn’t matter what was said in-between, he ended with I understand.
The window slammed shut. Handing me the withered joint, Don said she’ll be home any minute. I took the last ashy hit then flushed it down the toilet. Already past midnight, I laid down on the brown couch, listened to Susan park her car, shuffle across the front porch, unlock the door. Without so much as a glance towards the couch, she headed to the bedroom. Through the walls: Don asked how was--? Their voices lowered. The whole house stilled. To sleep is to reach an abrupt ending, without looking back. But there was something inevitable about the sleep that followed smoking where rest was no longer a great and painful finite but the inevitable act of the body slowing like dust settling.