in which speaker melissa mark-viverito smokes weed in her infancy and ponders legalization

Melissa lounged on the doorframe, her slim fingers, slimmer than what most people expected from a girl her stature, clinging to the woodwork.

“Are you going to offer that to me? Or do I have to beg?” She asked, never lowering her steady gaze. 

“Well, you’re gonna have to c’mere and get it,” the boy laying on the bed responded, his black eyelashes fluttering a little before he closed his eyes again. “’Cause I’m not moving.”

“Oh?” Melissa’s eyes flashed daringly.

Before he knew it, she had leaped into the bed with him, her knees jostling the cheap mattress and her hands tugging on the covers. He was pinned under her weight, and the pillows laid over his face in disarray.

“Watch it,” he whined, eyes darting to the pipe he cradled with both hands. “I just got this from Mexico.”

“I know that,” she rejoined, her eyebrows furrowing. Then her voice crept into a note of desperation. “Just hand it over.”

“You shouldn’t, though.” He reminded her, his voice coming through muffled by the pillows. “Don’t you have law tests to study for?”

Melissa groaned. “Don’t be like Papi. I’ve been studying all day, all week. I just need a little.”

She gestured just how little.

Then, she dived in for a tickle attack.

“Gah!” The boy exclaimed, finally relinquishing his prized West Coast-imported weed, the primo stuff.

Melissa broke into a grin, as she lit the pipe with satisfaction and sucked, inhaling for more seconds than she could count. The tendrils of smoke crept out her nose and scratched at the inside of her chest. At last, she blew it out all over the boy’s exposed face, through the pillows where he was peeking out at her.

“Mamacita,” he complained as she chuckled. Then she ignored him as she took another hit.

Finally, when she had finished blowing the remnant smoke from her fourth hit, or was it the fifth, through the window and down into the urban streetscape of East Harlem, where passersby would be struck by a certain lingering smell, her boyfriend snatched it back from her and leaned against the window to blow out his own veritable cloud.

“It’s so stupid that they make it illegal,” she said, even as the room swayed into four frames and bounced back into one.

Her world became composed of only a vague shadow that was the boy and the soft covers, the color and pattern of which she could not recognize; the only quality she registered was its softness.

“Well,” replied the boy, ages later, after some recess of his mind had processed her words. “It’s up to you to legalize it, then. When one day you can.”

“Well,” Melissa imitated, some small part of her wanting to be annoying and repetitive for annoyance’s sake.

“Well.” The boy said back, and suddenly he was laughing, hysterically, joyfully, turning on his side in positive delirium.





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