The last quarter moon illuminated our lightless dorm room just enough to distinguish the outline of the other on adjacent beds. We were both half-drunk and sitting “Indian” style with a box of Pizza World lying open on the floor between us. Billy Squier spinning on the turntable.
She exhaled slowly, almost sultry. I watched as smoke wafted illicitly from her lips making a quick and thankful exit out the cracked window. Her dark brown eyes were invisible in the shadows.
“Don’t worry. We aren’t going to get in trouble.” I recognized a patronizing eye roll in her tone of voice.
She always thought she needed to say it, to assure me, right before we did something bad. It wasn’t necessary as I was no stranger to misbehavior, hers or my own.
“You know they like me better, don’t you?”
She was talking about our friends on 4th floor Hewitt and she was intentionally being hurtful. I knew it wasn’t true, so did she, but she'd learned a long time ago how to get under my skin and when to twist a knife. She also knew how to seduce me back. If I wanted to be.
I silently slid under the bedspread that matched hers. I didn’t say another word because I had been her best friend since freshman year in high school, and I didn’t want to tell her what I was thinking. The words were teetering on the exactly edge of my tongue. Waiting.
“You are a self-centered slut and everyone thinks so, too.”
But I didn’t say those words.
My eyes were still open in the almost blackness. Billy still sang. And she still smoked, lighting the next cigarette from the burning filter of the previous one. She casually popped her jaw in such a way that the smoke lifted off her lips in practiced, white rings. Eventually dissipating. Floating away like our phantom friendship.
3 : a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal