Tobacco Was My Key to Eternal Life

Beyond my memories of The Verb, I walked through McCarren Park. One afternoon, a girl there had bitten a chunk of her apple’s core off for me to drop into my tobacco pouch in order to keep it fresh. I thought that piece of fruit had come from the Tree of Life. Thus, that tobacco was my key to eternal life.

At the corner of Manhattan Avenue and Nassau Avenue, right on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint, I stood outside that old apartment building where, once upon a time inside, I’d broken Charlie’s own cellphone across his forehead my last day in Brooklyn. He’d moved out about a month after I did. While I was still convalescing in Richmond, my mom had told me that, unable to make the rent, he’d gone back to his parents’ place in New Jersey. I’ve never spoken to him since he tricked me into the ambulance that night at The Verb. It’s not out of resentment. It’s out of respect. With tattooed madness glaring from underneath my wife-beater, I narrowed my eyes. I lit a cigarette and stared up at our old window. I said, “You never thought I’d make it back here, did you? Well, here I am. I made it. Nobody thought it was possible, but I did it.”

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