Kristin Tenor

Katie and I lean against the headboard of her parents’ California King, passing between us the Virginia Slim she stole from the pack hidden in her mother’s nightstand. The house is dead except for Breakfast at Tiffany’s playing on the TV across the room. Neither of us say a word. We just lie there like twin dolls dressed in our matching Catholic schoolgirl uniforms trying to forget what Sister Gerald said about making our bodies temples for God.

I bring the filter to my lips and take a tentative pull from the long white stem, while Audrey Hepburn sits in the back of a cab puffing away on a cigarette of her own. Smoke rises with sophisticated grace above her coiffed head like a wreath, as I try not to sputter. The menthol at first tastes minty cool, but soon morphs into something closer to Vick’s Vapor Rub. I feel both buzzed and nauseous at the same time.

Katie takes the Virginia Slim from between my pinched fingers and inhales so deep I fear she’ll black out. She closes her eyes, then tilts her head back, sending a daisy chain of smoke rings up towards the pebbled ceiling. We both sigh.

Back on the screen, Audrey tells her man people don’t belong to people—that nobody’s gonna put her in a cage. Katie flicks ashes into the dregs of her almost empty Mountain Dew can and offers me the cigarette. I let her have the rest. Her eyes redden and begin to water as she takes one last drag. She gets up to turn off the TV. “Damn it all to hell. This part always makes me cry.”