Once, after I shot up in a pizzeria’s bathroom and the owner glared at me as I walked past him, I went outside, lit a cigarette, took a drag. A late summer wind whipped the smoke away; the hot breeze felt pleasant—as did everything: I had nowhere to go, nothing to do—except to find ways to get more dope.

I walked past convenience stores, restaurants, cafes. Sitting at a sidewalk table, a girl with brown hair sipped coffee with a friend. Some urge came over me, which I decided would be inadvertently shielded yet enhanced by my high; and I walked up to the girl, said, “I just want you to know that you’re one of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen.” I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I’d get, but I wasn’t expecting the obvious one: the girl looking down in discomfort, annoyance, pity.

I attempted to hold up my head as I walked away, though I was only able to do so because of the dope swimming through me. Stopping to light another cigarette, I told myself that I’d forget the girl. Decades later, I still tell myself that.


About the Author

S.F. Wright lives and teaches in New Jersey. His work has appeared in Hobart, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, and Elm Leaves Journal, among other places. His short story collection, The English Teacher, is forthcoming from Cerasus Poetry, and his website is


Image by mostafa meraji from Pixabay