rain, film, tears and smoke inhalation

by remembertoexhale

I storm out of the house armed with my umbrella and my big black handbag which somehow manages to be able to contain an A4 sketchbook, a short Jack Kerouac novel, make up and an umbrella. I know that even though I have placed these things in my bag, I will probably not use it. Force of habit. I always pack in too much. I leave somewhere and I take everything I think I will need only to discover that I don’t need half of it, and my bag always becomes too heavy, but I drag it along anyway, thinking; “someday I’ll need this for something”.

I left feeling the light rain cooling my face, intermingling with the salty tears and in the back of my mind I am hoping my concealer won’t rub off revealing the dark circles perpetually under my eyes, and I tuck a stubborn stray curl under the band of my hat so that it won’t frizz further.


I eventually board the bus, get off, catching an interested look or two, probably because I was wearing a mohair-like big baggy jersey and straw fedora- which I assure you looks better than it sounds or  maybe it was just because, I was red nosed and wide eyed. I felt like I was going out to get lost so that I could get found and maybe a stranger would talk to me, see my red rimmed wide eyes. but the thing is, everyone knows that that only happens in movies and books. If only life was a book you could completely plot out for yourself instead of someone dictating over your shoulder. I struggle with the feeling that my life isn’t mine.

I had boarded the bus with a purpose. Among the sketchbook, the novel, and make-up – of which I used only concealer and a dab of lipstick, were two rolls of film. One was in a canister and one with black paper backing. I had held onto these two canisters for more than a year now, never developing them. But an argument, my frustration, my feeble hope and my cynicism finally pointed me to an immediate action- to finally get them developed. I felt like a few stray tears on the bus was a better option than a waterfall streaming down my face in my room where my parents would undoubtedly feel the need to reprimand or comfort me depending on their mood. Instead I asked for money to get my film developed

I felt the side pocket of my bag, confirming their presence, and I entered a shopping center that I know has a photo developing place. I walk up to the assistant, and after debating what size I want the pictures to be I find that the price to get them developed is more than double the amount of cash I have on me.

I leave, resolving to go to another film developing place walking aimlessly, and because I have nothing to distract me any longer, the lump that was in my throat starts to make its way up, hot and heavy, and my face begins to crumble again, but I push it down.

I find myself outside a busy mall, not really knowing why. I am leaning against a pillar gratefully inhaling somebody’s secondhand smoke. I am thinking about the memories I hold in the film in my hands. I think of how it has been lying in the bottom of my bag for an entire year waiting to be developed and when I finally take it out the odds are against me. I almost don’t want to take it to another place to get developed because the disappointment might be too much to bear.

I place the precious film I hold in my hand back into the side pocket of my bag, being careful not to let it get wet. As I lean, my head hurting and my heart heavy, I wonder why every time I am pushed into action the momentum never carries through. Music pours from a booth that sounds like it could be a playlist of mine from 5 or 6 years ago, how ironic that I hold a film canister in my bag. I inhale the last of the cigarette smoke coming my way, and I turn the opposite direction walking homewards.

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