My hand shakes as a cigarette rises to my glossy lips. Hair down, I fall laughing into his arms, taking shots of sugar like kisses. My baggy pants slip down just far enough to reveal the tight thong beneath, clinging to my crooked frame.
A second cigarette, lit with his silver Zippo, I practice inhaling long, snorting out smoke through my nose. My stomach flinches as he strokes my smooth skin. The hotel lobby is almost empty except the few other friends surrounding us.
I'm a little tired, dropping the next cigarette and letting the half empty pack fall to the tiled floor. Bare feet waving in the air, I let my tangled hair fall all over his chest. In confused accents they discuss the anorexia I never had, as I blame the skinny on running and caffeine.
Palms sweating, the fourth cigarette rests between my full lips, ash trickling onto my heaving breasts as I try to breathe through the pain. I'm leaving him, all of them, so soon, and even the smoke won't kill the tears fast enough.
I smoke five, six, seven as I exit, my suitcases rolling in twisted paths, tears trickling down a broken face. He watches as I go, knowing that love is nothing without me.
Eight goes down outside the airport, as I breathe deep without comprehending. Later he might think the blank stare was from not caring, but it was caring too much. One last hug, skin pressed tight, and that's all I'm left with.
I smoke the ninth cigarette all alone, thousands of miles away, tracing circles around the bruise he gave me, knowing kisses would have made it worse.