“Suffering builds character,”
I cupped my hands so she could get a light.
“That’s why I’m so damned charming.”

Her eyes rolled over my laughter.

“You’re right about being damned,”
she exhaled.
“but I’m not sure morosity is so charming.”

She reached out to meet my fingertips.

“It is for the morose, we love company.”
I paused to hold my thoughts over the smoke,
trying to decide whether I believed them.

Thinking made me choke.

She licked the tip of her finger and
ran it around the rim below the burn.
“So you plan to attract the other sad
sacks by being the ultimate bummer?
To what, circle-jerk each other’s tears?”

I pinched it between my fingernails.
Maybe it had become nothing but hot-air.
“I just meant it’s nice not to feel alone,
to identify with somebody else.”

She finished up and crushed
it underneath her shoe.
“Don’t be rude, I’m standing right here.”