“I sometimes feel like Jekyll and Hyde,” he says, picking at the skin around his nails. Dry and irritated, he had washed his hands at least fifty times already today. They were a good representation of… nevermind. His nails yellowing from nicotine, cut short so he could still manage his guitar. There was just this one hang nail that was driving him mad…
“go on,” you offer few words. Tongue dehydrated and heavy in your mouth, smoke swirls out of you with each curl of the muscle. Forming letters, you imagine yourself as the caterpillar from Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
There were so many parallels that made your organs tie themselves in the tightest of knots. Made your head fill with unknown pressure, crashing like high tide against jagged rocks. You could taste breakfast at the back of your throat begging to make a reappearance, a messy encore no one would enjoy.
The hookah smoking caterpillar first appears in chapter four, but it’s not important. Not the way chapter five is. Advice from a Caterpillar. Silent other than confusing questions, Alice detests him. The same way you imagine he must when you take the fits he can’t make up from down of.
Tap the cigarette in your hand ever so gently to free it of it’s former skin, ash dancing before flying freely out the window. Yes you just compared him to a confused little girl and yourself to an insect. life is funny. It is what it is.
“On one hand I believe we’re here to help eachother; to do on to others as we would like them to do on to us. But on the other hand I don’t want to help anyone. They all make me miserable and angry.”
A stiff silence sets in and like the sun through clouds, like clay left in the heat for too long, the corner of your lips lifts in a relieved yet understanding smirk.
Exhale smoke as you speak, the burn from your lungs and out reminding you that yes, you’re alive-
“Do you remember the last time you thought that was a possibility? Were you young?”
He nods, looking straight ahead. That look that people get when they’ve lost a little hope written all over his face and it makes you ache somewhere deep within. But you just continue smoking your cigarette and he continues mindlessly picking at his nails.
“This is what it’s like being a jaded adult,” you mutter. More smoke, curling, wrapping around every vowel and choking every consonant, painting them in the air between the two of you.
“this is what they’re speaking of when they say ignorance is bliss. You’ve seen and know too much,” you offer him a pat on the knee. The equivalent of a ‘good luck champ’. The equivalent of the caterpillar just releasing Alice into the wild without any plain to see advice.
“you’ll never experience that again.”