Down the stairwell opposite the cinema. Got a cold so I press my finger against my left nostril and shoot snot from the other that flies through the air then out of sight. Got some tobacco in my back pocket but whenever I smoke my throat burns and life feels desperately cruel so I refrain. There are people about, but all I feel is absence. It’s everywhere, clinging to the buildings and hovering above our heads like a fine mist. Sat on the bottom step of the stairwell is some foreign looking girl with brunette curls. She’s attempting to light a cigarette of her own but her lighter won’t work, so I offer her mine of which she duly accepts. Leaning down, I place the flame at the end of her stick, and when she sucks, I peer down her top and catch a glimpse of her breasts. Makes my toes tingle. Makes me feel like I’m a child again on Christmas day. Breathing in a lungful of smoke, she catches my gaze and a smile spreads itself upon her lips. There’s a temptation to stop and chat, but truth be told I can’t be bothered. Too old and tired, so I wish her well and flash my teeth at her before moving off. Belly’s got a rumble to it. Haven’t eaten in hours. Feel bad. Morose. Spent. Turning my head back, the smoking girl looks at me and smiles again. She’s Turkish, or maybe French. Overseas for sure. All olive skinned and smoky-eyed. Looks a bit like X. Sort of. The sight of her smoking makes me smoke one of my own even though I know it’ll taste like shit, and sure enough, it does. Throat’s a bugger too. Like I’ve swallowed glass. Try swallowing some spit to ease the pain but nothing works. Stupid body. The smoky girl’s body is a peach. It’s a reason to say yes, and yet my own is a big fat no. It’s a wreck. And my head’s no better. Too irregular by far. Coming to a set of traffic lights, that grey mist of absence floats over me like my own personal rain cloud. It’s almost comical. Staring at it with a frown on my face, the lights change, but I’m lost in thought. I’m not even thinking of anything. So I guess I’m just lost.