By Jake Pritchett
I dream of smoking:
It’s my grandfather. He smokes from a corn cob pipe, bouncing me on his knee — I burble-laugh. He says something in a teasing tone, but I’m not listening. I’m focused on the bounce; I anticipate when he’ll stop the descent and catch me. Then I slip. The ground surprises me. He lifts me from under my arms and sets me in an empty chair, pausing for a moment to look at me; he leaves and walks into a white farmhouse.
Eric. I bullied him in primary school. He’s grown-up now, I can’t see his face. He takes long drags from a cheap cigarette with pinched thumb and index finger. We’re very close to one another; he’s staring at me. I tell him I’m sorry for the time I trapped him in the utility shed. He replies with a long drag and spits smoke in my face. I ask him for one; he puts his out on the dead center of my forehead. I listen to skin boil and pop.
Her, again. Her legs are crossed, and she’s smoking in-between her middle and index finger. She only looks at me when she drags. Otherwise she’ll look down and hold the burning cigarette as far away as her arm will extend. My hands are clasped in between my legs and she asks me if I want one. I accept. She doesn’t have a light and neither do I.
I savor the smooth regret.
Jake Pritchett is a student in Fort Collins, Colorado. There he is a member of the International Baccalaureate Program. Jake is more or less unpublished (less), with a short story appearing in the next issue of DoveTales: An International Journal of the Arts.