The sound of the cigarette paper burning is like the sound of the soft wind blowing through the frozen trees on the cold, still January night. The sky gray but tinted pink from the lights of the city. You stare deep into the orange cherry and are reminded of movies from your childhood. You don’t know which ones. You don’t know why this memory is triggered. Your stomach is pained from the sobs of the last few hours. A rotting feeling deep down like you ate too many green grapes. You try not to think about the phone not ringing, but it is a constant thought in your head no matter how hard you try to force it out. The TV buzzes with meaningless entertainment about the unfortunate lives of others. You know your life isn’t that hard. You don’t have a drug problem. But you’ve always wanted one. For so many years you’ve dreamt of a life where you could blame your problems on an addiction. Your problems can’t even be called that next to those of others. You’re hurt, but by what? Confusion and misunderstandings. Maybe that’s not even it. Maybe you’re just let down. Your expectations were too high. You saw something that wasn’t there, put too much pressure on him. Maybe it was just a relationship in your head. He didn’t even know how close you two had become. You had built a life together. A life in Los Angeles, Chicago, Vermont. You had four kids together. Though you’d always dreamed of starting with boys, your first was a girl. Her name was Ava. She had your murky blonde hair and his deep brown eyes. Eyes almost black, always looking hopeful and wanting. Eyes like a deer in headlights. You text him, tell him he can talk to you, that the future of the relationship rests on him. You hope the time apart will make him see how great you were. Make him miss you. You know the truth is he’ll leave you. You’ll never speak again. Or he’ll never speak again. After some time passes, you’ll text him to see how he’s doing even though you promised him you’d wait for him to talk first. He won’t respond. You’ll be crushed, and it will be another difficult day for you to get through. You’ll wonder if he even got your message. So you’ll send another and quickly realize how desperate you look. The depression will worsen. And for what? Two months. Two months is nothing. Yet you sit and wonder if this is love. It’s not. Your jaw hurts like it has for days. You don’t know why that is either. Why don’t you know anything anymore? You’re cold. You’re cold all the time though. Even with the heater burning against your skin, the heat can’t seem to penetrate down to your bones. They ache with the cold. The cold that came too early this year and is certain to leave too late. You hate this place. You wish to be irresponsible. You wish you could lie in bed for days and not be bothered by bosses and friends and coworkers. You wish you could pick up and drive and stop somewhere and build a new life. A life without anyone from the old one in it. You could change your phone number, forget them, disappear. You sense vibrations that aren’t there, convince yourself it’s your phone even though you know it’s set to a loud ring, so you check it, and disappointment settles over you. You wonder what he’s doing. You imagine him checking his phone, reading your message, and sticking the phone back in his pocket. He’s already forgotten you. You’re too clingy, too emotional, too needy. And you’ll swear you’re not. But who are you to say that? How are you to know something about yourself that another could discover so easily? You make quick assumptions about others, why can’t they make them about you? Are you one of those people you hate? Are you that girl? Of course you are. Just look at what you’ve written.