I Lost Out

It was midnight and I was almost about to sleep when she woke me up and asked me if I wanted to smoke another cigarette. Ordinarily, I don’t smoke before sleeping because it creates a bit of anxiety but I decided to humour her since we weren’t going to see each other for another year or so.

I was moving cities again, as I often did. I never thought it would be of consequence to her or to anyone really but I guess people did want me around for my strangeness that they couldn’t really place or understand. As I was getting out of bed, I realised I had gotten rid of my pyjamas while getting into bed, it was quite warm inside the quilt. She asked me to hurry and forget about it since we were only going out to the balcony. The moment we opened the balcony door, I felt the cold in my knees. I tried to grab onto the bed but it was too far, I reached out and found her hand giving me the support to keep straight.

I instantly had an impulse to pull her close to me and kiss her on her the curve of her neck. I fought that urge and decided to walk out and light the cigarette for her instead, she always had trouble with matchsticks. She breathed in the smoke, made a cloud that enveloped her face, I noticed my mouth was open in a rather odd fashion and immediately stiffened as she passed me the cigarette.

She raised her right eyebrow twice and said, “I have something for you, I’ll give it to you tomorrow.” I pretended like I didn’t hear, my eyes were preoccupied with the way her fingers were fiddling with the locket around her neck. She repeated herself, this time using the word ‘gift’ in the sentence.

She let the locket fall on her neck, ever so gently, as though she was aware of my gaze. I wondered if she’d actually seen me see her, if she liked it or if she thought that I liked her locket. I wondered if kissing her would be similar to kissing my boyfriend, or different, I wondered if they would taste the same. I thought it would be comforting if they do, I desperately wanted to find out. As she took another cigarette out and was about to light that one with the end of the other, I stopped her and told her I was sleepy. She did it anyway and closed the door behind her as I made my way back into bed.

I was so proud of myself, knowing that I am the monkey that didn’t eat the fruit lying unattended, the sheep that didn’t move along with the herd, I felt like I walked the road not taken. But in reality, I did the exact opposite, didn’t I? I didn’t give in to my urge as so many around me were, but I also didn’t explore that side of me, I listened to that voice telling me that this was wrong, that this was promiscuous, that I shouldn’t do this, not only because I was dating someone but also because it wasn’t ‘normal’.

Perhaps I was scared about how she’d react, if she’d ever speak to me again, if I would disgust her. That doesn’t make sense because after that day I never met her much anyway, we would speak sometimes at parties and wish each other on birthdays, I never lost out on anything but the possibility of her kissing me back. I sometimes imagine the night differently, imagine myself differently, but always know in my heart that I lost out.

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