Nothing Gold Can Stay
“It’s in these hours I usually learn the most about myself.”
“When you’re stoned at 2 AM?” She laughs playfully.
“No,” I pluck the joint from her hand and take a hit. “When I’m alone at 2 AM,” another puff. “Forced to hear my thoughts rather than talk over them.” I can feel the air pulsing, bugs vibrating, droplets of humidity bursting on my skin. I can see shadows in the purple darkness and shapes bustling in the palm fronds. I look over to watch her have her turn. She tenses up, I assume suppressing a cough. Still an amateur. She swallows a few times and seems to recover.
“Am I hindering your personal growth? Should I leave?” That smile she gives me. She knows I don’t want her to leave. What boy my age would ever want her to leave?
I take a deep breath. She goes to take another hit. “No… no, you can stay.” She hands it back. “It’s good sometimes to have a break. Hear someone else’s voice at an hour in which...you wouldn’t even think another voice existed.” I bring the joint to my curled lips. Inhale the bittersweet smoke...hold...hold...slow exhale. I watch the white vapor leave my lips but eventually can’t tell whether I’m imagining it. “You know, sometimes when it’s realllllly quiet, and I’ve been alone for a long time, I have to start making noise myself. I just...have to hear something or I’ll go crazy.” Another hit.
“Sounds pretty damn crazy to me.”
I hand it to her. “Yea,” a few stoned chuckles. “Guess I’m pretty damn crazy.”
She takes a long drag, maybe trying to impress me. “Don’t worry about it. We’re all pretty damn crazy I think. Just too busy hiding it to notice that everyone else is hiding the same thing.” She stares off towards the water a bit and almost absentmindedly takes another hit. “We’re all fucked up, at varying degrees I admit, but... there isn’t a single one of us walking around unscathed.” I’m handed back the joint.
“I guess I agree with that.” I take a puff. “But I don’know… I don’t think other kids have the same thoughts we do...feel the same things. I can’t figure out if all us teens have the same depressing, fucked up thoughts and just hide it really well, or if I’m just a depressed and fucked up teen.” I pass it back.
“Well if it makes you feel any better,” she takes a hit. “I’m pretty sure I’m just as depressed and fucked up as you are.” Hands it back.
“Maybe it’s just us then. Explains why we’ve… gravitated towards each other.” I take a hit. “I swear I wasn’t always like this. I actually used to have epiphanies of happiness and gratefulness. Now those have been replaced with moments of seemingly random sadness...loneliness. How the fuck…” I pass the joint.
“I blame puberty. Some girls get bigger tits, some get depression.” Another long drag.
I look over with an uncontrollable smile, “Hey lucky you, got ‘em both.”
“Fuck you.” She laughs and hands me the joint.
“I wonder if our parents ever thought like this. I can’t imagine they were ever like me. Ever open-minded or deep. Maybe adulthood takes that all away...fuck. Fuck me if I ever turn out like them. Act like they know everything but they’re so ignorant about so much. Completely unreasonable...ununderstanding. I’m never gonna be them.” She giggles, but I continue, “I refuse.” I finally take a hit. “Sh-ch-it-tt,” I almost cough. “Getting kinda burnt.”
“Nothing gold can stay.”
“Yeah it fuckin’ sucks Ponyboy. What do you say? Roll another?”
“Nah. Let’s just ride this one out. Watch the stars...and the waves for a bit.”
“Damn, look at us. Out here at the beach on a friday night getting stoned. Everyone our age is probably at a party,” I rub my eyes and try to get the stars into focus.
“Hey,” She smiles at me. “If they were fucked up and depressed, they’d do the same.”
I have to laugh a bit, “True, true. Can’t blame us...we’re damaged.”