He puffs out smoke. "It's been raining for three days."
"But it's really raining."
"Why aren't you crying?"
I shrug, shuffle against the sheets and thinks it's really stupid that the window is open. "I dunno. When I met you I knew it was coming."
"So is the window."
"You still let it happen?"
I steal the cigarette. "I didn't really have much left to lose."
"Not even your heart?"
"You already had it."
The windowsill is wet. You didn't ask to open the window. I'm not sure if you needed to. Two minutes in there was already a puddle. The rain has taken to tracking down the wall, leading trails to the bed. I kind of feel like a raindrop.
The pillow is wet.
I want to light a candle.
I hand you the cigarette. "I want to light a candle."
"You want a moment of silence too?"
I scrunch my nose and say: "No. I want to light a candle."
You say: "Why?"
I say: "Did you know it's been raining for three days?"
You smile. Slow & easy, flicking ash into a tray. For one quick moment I think I am in love with you. I think "there will be no replacing you."
You say: "I love you."
I say: "I'm sorry I met you."
And your face doesn't fall. You don't look sad and you don't push the cancer stick down into your arm. You just take another inhale and I suddenly want to be cancer. I think of smoke crawling into your lungs, staying there, stuck there, eating away at you and turning your insides black and decayed.
I want to know if when you think of nicotine, you think of me. I want to know if you see cancer and disease in me.
The walls are blank. They're white with raindrop tracks on them. We never put up pictures. We never took pictures. Looking at you is like seeing a memory. The feelings that used to make me weak in the knees just seem nostalgic. I feel like I don't remember you.
Sometimes I want to say: "who are you?" Part of me feels like I've never known – that you've never known. This person has your eyes and your laugh. And sure, they've got my heart too.
Outside the power lines are crying. They collect water like Christmas lights and when I focus too hard, the rain turns to static I'm watching white noise when you get up. And none of it – none of it feels real. It hasn't since I met you.
I say: "Do you ever wonder what your heart looks like?"
And you. Well you say: "Some indistinguishable shape separated into two separate ventricles connecting to veins and arteries. It's not two tears upside down, or a cute little picture drawn on the corner of papers. It's ugly. It's bloody."
"You think it's black?"
"Are you asking me if I have a black heart?"
"Something like that."
You light another cigarette. "Why aren't you crying?"
The sheets are cold and white like the walls; they're soft against my legs. "I think my heart is purple."
"Like a medal?"
"Like a bruise," I punctuate. "It's got fingerprints all over it, beaten down into that indistinguishable pulp."
Something flashes. It's right in front of me and right behind a red-orange glow of caustic demise. It almost looks like sympathy.
It almost looks like you're about to say you're sorry.
I think of windowsills and power lines. I think of running down to the water's edge at midnight and finding out that the water is too cold to even be spontaneous. I don't think of the butterflies that still flutter up my spine when you smile or the way that the bed looks better when you're in it.
I say: "I wish I had you memorized."
And you say: "You're the only one who does."