She stared down at her hands, raw and red from the cold, “Why are you here? Why are you always here when things have turned to shit?”

“Maybe because that’s when you want me to be.”

“That’s really not it.”

He looked away from here and sighed, “Look if you want me to leave, I will.”


“Okay. That was a bluff. What’s wrong?”

“Everything. Nothing. I don’t know. I’m tired. Both literally and existentially. Maybe I’m dying. I’ve been dead since I was eleven. Maybe it caught up.”

“Can I hug you?” He asked, taking his hand out of his pockets and letting them hang there at the ends of his arms like a bad joke.

“No.” She was surprised that he remembered.

“Okay.” She didn’t like to be hugged. Didn’t like to be touched at all. He was surprised he had remembered this time.

They both sighed at the same time, glanced at each other, and laughed. William’s hands still dangling from his arms and Sylvia’s sweater caught on the rough brick wall. He tried folding his hands and stuffing them into his pockets. It didn’t help. He exhaled and his nostrils flared, he pulled his cigarette case out from his jacket pocket. He got one out and held it towards Sylvia. She grimaced and shook her head slightly before reaching out for the cigarette. He grabbed another for himself and lit them both with his old clear lighter.

“Sorry it’s such a piece of shit.” William said after it took four tries to get the flame to hold.

“It’s okay, so am I.” Sylvia was looking straight ahead.

“Maybe. Maybe not. That’s not for me to say.”

“Thanks.” She rolled her eyes.

“No. Okay. Look. I fucking love this lighter. All of my friends – well, you know – fucking love this lighter. I’m so damn attached to it. I barely have any skin left on my thumbs from trying to get the damn thing to light. So what if it can be kind of awful? So what if my weird clear lighter kind of hates itself and me. I love it.”

Sylvia wiped at her nose with her sweater sleeve. “You’re uh, you’re real attached to that lighter, huh?”

“Yeah, even if it doesn’t like me very much.”

Sylvia tilted her head back and groaned. She was leaning against the cold brick wall of a 7/11 . With William. Widely – by her – regarded as terrible and – by her – opportunistic.

“You’re a dick. You know that right?”


“Okay. Just making sure.”