When I smoke a cigarette, I think of us.
I think of us the day we came off the river, of how on our way back we all slid out of the pickup for a break with the mountains, and you and I pulled ourselves up onto the three rafts strapped together on the trailer, how we leaned against each other, my hair wild, green Heineken bottles in one hand, cigarettes resting between mouths and our dirty finger tips. Our sunglasses, our calm in knowing where we belonged in this instant; the way we must have seemed, two Kerouac-ian figures perched against the afternoon sun.
I always wonder what that picture would have looked like, if Mitch hadn’t decided to try to wind the film himself and lose the whole role in the process. It haunts the smoke that drifts from my lips now. Us, like the king and queen of the valley, our generation thumping in our chests, him below, a rollie dangling from his lips and the old Pentax aiming it’s lens at our outstretched arms that tried to juggle the drinks and the smoke and each other – these addictive substances we throw ourselves headlong into.
By God, how radiant we must have been.