"I wouldn't say I'm happy," she breathes,
cigarette smoke drifting from her fingertips
and diffusing into her tousled, coffee-brown hair.
"But I'm not sad either, no--not exactly.
I feel very...empty. Yes, very much indeed."
We sit together at a small table
at a corner cafe
separated, but somehow a part of
the busyness of the city street.
As we sip our teas,
we watch the cars, people, pets
materialize, flicker, and disappear--
she, with a heavy, languid weariness
that peeks out underneath
her black eyeliner and dark eye circles;
and me, as if
I am looking behind a glass screen.
She laughs softly, bitterly.
Blows out more smoke.
Sips more tea.
I stare at the condensation forming
on the inside of my cup,
see the droplets accumulate only to fall
down again into my sea of tea.
"You see, life moves in circles."
With her cigarette, she outlines a rough circle in midair,
producing swirling trails of smoke that solidify,
then diffuse into nothingness.
"Infinite, never-ending cycles that take you
right back to the starting point.
It's happened always,
now, in the past, and
will continue to happen.
And it's an unstoppable force
that of which we have little influence upon.
"But no, cycles are necessary.
They are there in nature, and naturally
also exist in society."
"But there is an unspoken pointlessness
to this cycle of life."
She stops talking and so we drink our teas