by Taylor Rogers '24 on November 4, 2023
Portfolio Co-Editor


Smoke danced around your lips as I watched you in awe, the half-lit joint in your fingers immediately enticing me, and I couldn’t help but wonder. My brain was already foggy, weaving in and out of sobriety like our relationship. Friendship and something more clashed ruthlessly in my mind. I couldn’t help but clutch your hand a little tighter as you handed me the rolled marijuana that would bring me solace or paranoia. The clock before us read 2:00 a.m., but neither of us were in a rush for the night to end, as getting high was far more important than stumbling back to our dorms. I might’ve imagined it, but I felt your hand squeeze mine a little tighter before releasing the joint, presenting me with possession of something my brain could hardly comprehend. 

“Looks like you might need a light,” you told me. “Hold it to your lips, and I’ll do it for you.”

Naturally, I complied, heart pounding as I felt your pale hand brush against my cheek. Unable to speak, I nodded, wonderstruck as you held flames before me. My eyes failed to look away from yours as I felt smoke pry my lips open, presenting me with a kiss of hope. 

Unfortunately, my tolerance was still weak, and I coughed. “Holy shit, what’s this strand laced with?”

Your laugh caused headlights to flash our way briefly. “The usual stuff. When’s the last time you smoked?”

“I only ever smoke when I’m with you.” I reminded you, surveying your face for any sort of reaction.

A Cheshire-like grin spread across your face. You leaned in closer, closer, closer until our lips barely touched, “good girl.”

Your eyes drifted down to my lips and watched as I blew out another cloud with finality. “Can I-” you paused. 

“Can you what?” I curiously asked you, wondering if somehow, you knew. If in a weed-induced rant, I had accidentally spilled crucial battle plans about our friendship to you. If I had revealed the conversations held between my friends who embraced my delusions, if they had revealed that my thoughts frequently recorded your name, your smile, you. 

Three short words ruined my dream. “No, I shouldn’t.”

You pulled back from me, stuffing a hand in your pocket after hesitation. Through half-lidded eyes, I watched as you threw on the flannel that covered my body minutes before, until I had insisted it was too warm and promptly chucked it onto the snowy grass. Your cheeks stained red while I felt blue fall down mine, and I let out a sigh. 

“I have an 8 a.m. Should we head back to campus?” I whispered wistfully, eyes flickering to the church parking lot where two teenagers lived out my present fantasy. 

You looked down at my hand, hesitating. For a second, I swore you reached out your hand, but with my first step I realized that now, I was high. The ground below my feet swayed back and forth, the way your hand likely was in the wind. 

Once I regained my footing, you spoke. “Yeah. Need me to walk you to your dorm?”

“Nah, I got it.” I confidently stated, taking a few steps to prove it to you. “But if you want to, that’s fine.”

You agreed, naturally, and began to walk steadily. The wind threatened to pull us away from our school, but you persevered until we stood outside a rustic, brick building that we made the mistake of smoking in front of together the first time we met. 

“Welp, this is my stop. See ya, captain,” I sarcastically spoke, likely doing a silly little wave. 

You grabbed my wrist in midair, “Stop, you look silly.”

“Don’t I always?” I forced out a laugh, despite the feelings from earlier returning. “Maybe you should— shit.”

My phone clattered to the ground before I could finish my sentence, ruining the prayers I had forced my religious roommate to whisper to her God before leaving our apartment. You picked it up, shoving it into my hand. A few notifications flashed and they caused your brow to crease, and you looked up for a minute. 

“You really should go to bed,” you told me, lightly pushing me toward the door.

With a stumble, I yelled out a goodbye to you (I think) and ignored the pounding heartbeat threatening to rupture my poor organ. I opened the large glass door, still enchanted by the delusions rapidly provided by my brain the second you turned around and left.