Cigarette Angel & Other Stories by Blake Pitcher by Blake Pitcher - Read Online

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Cigarette Angel & Other Stories - Blake Pitcher

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Smitty

Cold, as I am

When I chose the road of the starving artist, I didn’t think it would be my inspiration that would go hungry.  This place has sucked the spirit from me.

Tried to write something beautiful, but my hands were cold.  Heard the song in my head, just couldn’t get it down.  And then the photos, the wrestling with nostalgia.  I moved to this rusted out city for cheap rent and to escape certain things—now look at me.

My restlessness brought me to the last act of the autumnal street festival. 

The grey of early evening relinquishes its time with a chilling exhalation over clumps of people surrounding the main stage.  It’s weird to be at these things alone, during the in-between times.  I’m tempted to pull my phone out of my pocket and monkey with the screen, like I’m waiting for someone or something.  As it is, I shove my hands in my pockets and try not to stare at anyone.

Are you as cold as I am?

The question was innocuous, but I overthought it as usual.

Its asker is a girl, a young woman.  An Eastern European transplant, second generation perhaps.  Hint of accent.  I feel older than I am. And younger.

It’s pretty chilly out.  Which is a terrible response, but I am still overthinking the question.  I’m not used to the cold where I’m from, I could say, and that would be partly true.  But that runs two risks.  One is that she will ask me from where and two is much worse—that she will not ask me anything else at all.

So my response is fine and everything is fine.

Two sisters stand against the cold with the rest of the crowd.  They could be twins, stuffed into their sweatshirts, facial expressions of resigned bulldogs.  They are not texting or talking like most everyone else.