her (his?) face was contorted as she tapped angrily on my window, asking for cash.
"come on!" she screeched. "i know you got something!"
i probably should have given her the twenty in my wallet. twenty dollars that could have been imbibed, through nose, mouth, veins... and guaranteeing her something, anything better than pounding on the windshields of startled twenty-somethings.
instead, my mind flicked back to a scene a week prior, on a similar street not far from the one where i sat. my companion, offering a homeless man a cigarette on a corner. a small gesture of comfort to the comfortless.
instinctively i reached toward the pack of marlboro lights in my glove compartment, and cracking the window, i hastily shoved it toward the woman's grotesque, scowling face, and accelerated as the light, thankfully changed.
instantly i was drowning in icy regret. i briefly considered turning around and returning for the pack, not the cigarette, just that pack- the pack. the momento. the pack that had been traveling with me, through two cars and two moves, and two years, smoked by two people... one of them now dead.
tevis dropped the pack in my car on the last night that i saw him (alive). i had considered driving back to his apartment, less than two blocks from my matchbox apartment on rose street. but i never did. i kept them tucked away in my glove compartment, sinfully enjoying their presence and never smoking a single one.
i never saw tevis sober. i wonder if he ever was. he was young looking- at nineteen he looked like he was about to enter high school. perpetually greasy hair, perpetually broken out t-zone, heavy lidded eyes... he was just one in a string of others just like him.
in september he walked straight off the side of a cliff in red river gorge. pilar found him the next morning, and had to sit with his lifeless body for six hours before help arrived.
the toxicology reports suggest there were enough amphetamines in tevis' body that he likely didn't even feel the fall. dying while high. falling from on high. crashing.
after his death i memorialised his cigarettes. all but one had been smoked, and the last one, broken (like tevis) by a man who broke me.
the dead take on iconic powers in my life.... they become objects of worship and trust. i spoke daily with alex for months after his death. and even with tevis, with whom i had never had a conversation, sober or otherwise, i felt a strong connection- an overwhelming urge to preserve him in that little white box.
the broken woman on the corner lit the cigarette- and did what i couldn't/would not do. she lit the cigarette, inhaled the broken spirit, and soothed by the toxins, continued her decline..