Light filtered in slowly, and it was yellow.
Dust particles and cigarette smoke mingled against the beams, dancing and twisting to some imaginary tune as though invitees at some grand ball. At least that was the optimistic take; no one I knew went to balls, therefore I wasn't in much of a position to pass judgement on the airborne filth.
Maybe I was taking it a bit too literally.
I brought the cigarette to my lips, taking a long drag. It was a rush, as it always was. It sent your mind reeling, your senses second guessing themselves, a power over your own body that only a few knew. Those that dared to inhale the sickly substance.
The tip brightened, and the length shortened. It was some kind of affirmation, a little light to say you were doing a good job. I'd been told that's what got some people hooked, just that joy of seeing it diminish into their bodies, the paper and plant re-purposed for a sensation so many refuted.
I didn't get it, I didn't care to get it.
I scratched my leg, and heard and felt a shift behind me.
Turning, my gaze cast over from the dim light to the blinds that hid it's majority to the flaky plaster wall, my spine popped as I turned, and that was oddly satisfying as well. Finally, after seeing faded paintings and heat lamps on the bedside, my eyes lay upon her.
She slept, dark hair sprawled about her, mouth apart and eyes peacefully shut. Her chest rose and fell -or more compressed and expressed, as she lay on her side- and she readjusted as I unwittingly blew smoke in her direction, the pervading smell giving ire enough for her to turn away, if unconsciously.
I kept my eyes on the space between her shoulders, the quilt having fallen away somewhat to reveal that spot of skin. It was a fine thing, nestled between her shoulder blades, free of freckles or scars or rashes as was common on the vast majority of the population. That's what I noticed, at least, at pools and on hot days, that the space there was never free.
It was why I liked this woman that slept here so much, she was unique, the only person I knew that had a perfect spot of skin between her shoulder blades, that I knew of in any event.
She seemed to tense, and bend in on herself a little. I heard a shudder from her, and watched as her spine became more prominent, hands curling around her form in hopes of doing away with the cold she felt.
I didn't really understand how she could feel cold, but evidently -or course- she did. Leaning over, I felt more bones and muscle and tissue pop as my tired arm extended out. I must have sounded like a firecracker to the acute of hearing. My hand found purchase on the edge of the quilt and the blanket atop it, and I gripped both tenderly.
Pulling them over her, I sighed a soft smile as I watched her relax into it, and left my hand lingering on her shoulder as I left the quilt just below. It travelled south, and though under the bedding I knew I was between her shoulder blades where I came to rest.
It was not an eccentric obsession that had me feeling the area, but simply an abuse of base human instinct. It made her feel better, it made me feel better.
When she had calmed and extended her body somewhat, spine hiding itself again and the mass beneath the blankets growing, I drew away. Turning away, I felt my own body rest, my ribs thanking me as the pressure I'd applied was lifted. It wasn't nearly as much as I'd facilitated for her, but I didn't care to rest anyway.
No, I only wished to expunge it.
Looking out at the great yellow yonder once more, I sighed contently, and took another long drag.
Another rush, another tantalising innovation of the drugs within.
I began thinking, pensive of my actions just previous. Was there a point? Did it matter that I'd accosted her with some measure of comfort? I was over-thinking it, as I often did, but it still invaded my mind with all the tenacity of the cigarette's contents.
I suppose it was technically my job to make her feel comfortable. God only knew she'd made me comfortable last night, but if I'd done the same for her? Again, god only knew.
Then I reflected on that. Was it perversion? A responsible accreditation? It was hard to justify an omniscient force staring into your life at every moment of the day. Presuming he did, anyway, I could be giving him too much credit.
Eventually, I was left with a flickering stub, and simply dropped it thereafter.
Most people would crush it out, but I was shoeless and I'd dropped enough without the whole place catching ablaze; what was one more?
Though this would otherwise mean I had nothing to do, the shift behind me signalled the contrary. Turning once more, spine cracking -how time flew- and eyes glancing across the decrepit walls, I laid them upon her.
She'd turned in my direction, almond eyes open though tired. Her lips were parted, hair a mess about her, and she sniffled a small sniffle before clearing a flemmy throat. Even then, she looked beautiful.
"Honey?" she queried, innocently, "you alright?"
Even for the thoughts that raced through my head, the bad choices for dwelling, I smiled a small smile and leaned over. "I'm fine," I assured, and kissed her forehead tenderly.
That seemed enough for her, because she smiled and brought one meek hand up to grasp the back of my neck, "Come back to bed then."
I did so. As I wrapped my arms around her, and she snuggled to my chest, I remembered -or perhaps was reassured- that none of those thoughts or worries meant anything, they weren't important.
Rather, this was important, this was what mattered.
I'd try to keep that in mind, in future.