cigarettes and isolation

The last night we ever spoke, we shared a cigarette--the last one either of us had on us, and somehow it seemed appropriate. She was smoking Parliaments.

We promised we'd keep in touch, but of course that never happens the way it's planned. We exchanged a few emails--hi, I'm here safely, thinking of you, glad you got in okay, how are you liking the new place?--but we didn't call, because neither of us likes phones, and she never gets on IM so we never talked there, and soon the emails got slower and then what could we say, anyway?

I knew it was coming, of course. It was a foggy night when I left. My plane emerged from a sea of clouds at street-level, illuminated with little blue and yellow patches, but obscuring all of the buildings entirely. My favorite part about flying has always been looking at the buildings, especially at night, seeing the night's skyline. Coming home I was always ecstatic to see my home and all the familiar buildings--leaving it was one last chance to let the memories crystallize, one last wistful glance. Lot's wife in the Bible, glancing back at her home before it got destroyed by a vengeful God--that's me. But this time my home was shrouded in fog. It was beautiful and foreign, and all I had to remember the city by was a shared Parliament cigarette.

If home is where the heart is, I have to assume mine stayed with her, there in Seattle, watching her take the last drag from our cigarette and then tossing it to the ground, grinding it out, and giving me a smoky embrace. "I'll talk to you soon," she promises, though we both know we never will.

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