jealous of your cigarette

You stand there on the street corner, your cigarette dangling from the corner of your mouth. It's dark, and the glow of light at the end of the cigarette reflects on your glasses, a winking gleam in the shadows that lets me see the lines of your face. One chin, stubborn: two eyes, deep-set: one nose, an eagle's prow: two lips, a snake's kiss.

I couldn't hope to explain Mugenjou to you, how we were so desperate and so lonely, and how we'd hold each other in the darkness. You're something stronger than that: you enjoy your coldness, you're proud of your solitude, and while your hands wander wherever you feel like groping, you'll never let yourself be touched in any way that counts.

I wouldn't even try to make the suggestion. The words would come out wrong. You're not a man who does that sort of thing. And while I'm with you, neither am I. We walk the dark streets together and we're partners, and that is something, I suppose.

But I envy your cigarette, Ban: you breathe through it, you take the smoke in, your lips touch it, and for a little while you hold on to it and cherish it and make it think that it matters to you.

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