In the early hours of the evening, we smoke our cigarettes on the steps of an Italian restaurant. It’s a rough area, but it’s okay. I’ve got tattoos. Through an open window of a passing car, I hear a song that reminds me of the dying days of disco. All the days that ever existed have died, not just the dying days of disco, but still, it’s kinda sad. Thinking of those glittery disco balls and wild afros in the years my parents were courting, my mind wanders to the small cul-de-sac I grew up in as a kid, and how late at night, I’d stand in the garden looking up at the stars trying to comprehend the knowledge that the tiny dots of light in the sky were not only millions of miles away, but millions of years in the past. It blew my mind. Still does. I know without even checking the menu that I’ll order a pepperoni pizza. I’m not the most adventurous of eaters, but pepperoni pizza is a harbinger of good things. Always has been. Always will. As we chat through the smoke escaping our mouths observing those coming and going, I realise I’m nothing more than a strange amalgamation of all the lovers I’ve ever had. The last time I was really me, was before I lost my virginity. Ever since I’ve been accumulating other people’s habits and ideas the way a magpie thieves all things shiny. I can’t even remember the last time I had an original thought or felt something that wasn’t skewed by the emotional scar left by another. This isn’t a bad thing, though. It’s life. I’m not made of stone, but rather a living, breathing thing, as malleable as a dream. Snorting smoke through her nostrils, her eyes are coins glowing in the darkness of a well. When she smiles, her teeth are those of the cats brushing my legs as I forever stand in the garden as a kid, wishing to be with those distant stars that swirl like the milk in the glasses of coffee liqueur that line the bar inside.