“The trouble is,” she said, “The trouble is that you never really know until you’re too late. And by then, you wish you didn’t.”
Smoke curled out of her plump, open lips, lazily; casually, as though it was trying to impress me. It did. Most everything about her impressed me, which is how we found ourselves in this situation right now.
She carried on, gesticulating widely with the tip of her cigarette, weaving it through the heavy evening air like a firefly, burning a trail behind my eyelids when I blinked.
“You see,” she said, “They don’t understand. They don’t get it, and we have to make them get it. It’s, like, our duty or something. They have to see. You know?”
I thought it was funny how she used those markers in her speech. She never needed an opinion, only an audience. I knew; I’d tried her, letting her carry on and on, and seeing how long it’d take her to realise I hadn’t spoken. We got close to an hour, once.
The air was getting cold now, settling in around us as the light faded. Through the trees in the distance, I could see the light from the kitchen window, and I thought how easy it would be – how normal – to go back inside, to put a sweater on and get warm.
I looked at Jenna and saw that she was watching me, watching the house. I remember the shine of her eyes in the semi-dark, and the smell of woodsmoke and pine, and the aching, groaning sway of the trees as the night settled in.
“I wish I didn’t know. I wish I didn’t, but I do, and it’s too late.”