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Jul. 30th, 2008 | 04:31 pm

A flowing pillow of smoke poured from her ample mouth and parted into delicate, translucent fingers. I absently imagined those fingers caressing my face as I focused on my own lips, which spoke lucidly and earnestly of Jesus and His great sensibility.

Part of me wanted to caress her face, as I imagined her smoky digits did mine, to put her bottom lip gently between my teeth and to taste her bitter breath in the midst of a passionate and transcendent moment.

She looked at me with smart interest as I spoke. She'd later tell me that I spoke of Jesus like He was more than a historical figure or a legendary archetype. Like He was a friend with whom I interacted. This was the greatest compliment she ever gave, and to say the least, she knew how compliments should be piled upon each other.

I wanted to sin with her, - which I suppose is sin in itself - to wrap ourselves together in what I imagined would have been blissful and invigorating throws. I'm not sure she ever knew about that, although it seemed clear that I thought we were in some way meant for each other. When she was near, it felt like we were the only two people alive in the whole world.

The air between us was tangible like a hot flame, but she somehow knew to resist me, although neither of us wanted her to. She knew intuitively that a deeper relationship between us wouldn't work, that her restlessness would come out eventually, and that she wouldn't be able to bear a constant reminder that what she wanted to do - to run free on a search for the greatest external source of pleasure and meaning that she could find - wasn't necessarily the best way to get what she was looking for. She may also have instinctively known that I couldn't handle being linked to someone I could so easily find myself giving up everything for to an unhealthy extent, that our continued relationship would probably erupt or erode and eventually bring some level of destruction to both of us.

So the flame eventually was smothered by self-inflicted distance and disconnection. Our relationship ended in a flowing pillow of smoke that parted into delicate, translucent fingers and eventually faded to memory. And while somehow I remember self-rolled cigarette smoke and serotonin rushes and a girl whose smile was free and whose laughter was unrestrained, what I hope she remembers is a dreaming kid who was lost but for a relationship with a God who remains more than the history lets on, and more than the legends can do justice.

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