Four Years Later
The New Year rolled in unnoticed, seemingly bringing with it an endless downpour of white chilling snow, and a bite to the air that nipped at any exposed flesh with ferocity that kept most citizens wrapped up in layer after layer of warm wool sweaters, and thick cotton scarves. The city was still alive with holiday spirit and cheer, left over Christmas lights hung along the railings of apartment terraces, new year signs in shop windows advertising the last of the holiday deals were just now being torn down to replace with upcoming Valentine’s Day deals and cheesy pink hearts. Even the Christmas tree in the old town park that usually was vandalized every year with toilet paper and inappropriate pictures of Santa, still stood tall and alight for the past month without intention of being taken down. The weather still held on to the last bit of winter, and would right up until summer came in full force. There usually was never a spring. It went from snowing and freezing winds, to stale heat, and blistering sunshine. There was no grey area in the city.
Everlie Harris stood outside of the bustling buildings, letting the neon pink lights shine over her like a misplaced halo, as she sucked in the poison of her second cigarette, indulging the feel of the thick smoke curling around inside her lungs, and at the back of her throat. For a second it was as if the mix between the cold and the smoke got to her, and her lungs forgot how to work. Every part of her body reacted, wanting to revolt against the intruder, to suck in deep for fresh air not contaminated with whatever was in the cigarettes, but Everlie leaned her head back against the ice wall, closing her eyes to drift along with the hazy feeling inside of her mind. When it became too much, she silently drew in a breath to replace the emptiness inside of her; that in itself was almost more painful to her.
The sounds of loud music and people cheering filled her ears melancholically, the same old song playing day in and day out, the same old people, the same old life. Bitterness coated the inside of her mouth as she watched across the way, a drunk girl stagger alongside a man, laughing giddily, and stupidly as he helped her into a taxi. She crushed her dead cigarette under her boot before lighting another one, the tips of her uncovered fingers beginning to go numb. Inside of her coat pocket her phone buzzed graciously against her hip, ignored. It wasn’t until the second time that Everlie fetched it from its storage, and clicked on the first text that appeared on the dimly lit screen. She read over the two sentences with bland distaste, then tossed the old phone back into her pocket. Everlie puffed on the cigarette for a second longer, making smoke rings with the white smoke, when a familiar voice drifted out amongst the other noise.