I'm Staying In

October 4th, 2013, 9pm

It was 19.4°C. The wind was calm.

I imagine myself smoking a cigarette on a chilly California night, draped in a sassy sequin dress. It is black. My ears are throbbing from the music inside. I smile and take another drag from my cigarette. I blow the hot smoke into the stars and I let my head hang back and I close my eyes.

I imagined myself smoking, I imagined the sequins, but the California night and the throbbing ears were real. I imagined my blase in that moment outside of the concert when my friends gathered to take a “white girl” picture while I and five pretty filipinas busied ourselves with fake smiles, canned laughter at the boys who wanted pics with the white girls and subtle eye rolls to comfort an awakened heaviness.

The white girls and the filipino boys, giggled and laughed as they wrapped their arms around one another. They beamed into the cell phone framed by one of the pretty filipina’s ashy cigarettes. The smiling brown woman took the photo and laughed along. The photo shoot closed, the brown filipina turned and ashed her cigarette sternly at the street. Her head fell back and she looked into the stars with subtle tired eyes to release the burning smoke trapped in her lungs into the smiling stars. She then turned around, once again carefree, and joined the filipino boys’ and the white girls’ conspiratorial laughter.

I didn’t have a cigarette so I turned to the street to feign interest in the night. I rocked back on my heels, then up on my toes, moving subtly to my deep exhale.

It was there, staring at the wet asphalt, watching the yellow cabs skid by, that I imagined myself smoking a cigarette and wearing a gorgeous sequin dress that reflected every light in the city.

Amal and David Wade said thanks.

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Ranmali Rodrigo

I am a writer who is trying to write everyday despite the typical distractions of work, cat, boyfriend, cooking and workouts. Hi!

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