They were stoned, and they were crying. She carelessly drops the bag of salt & vinegar chips, and the crumbs scatter around his dirty carpet that covers the floor of this basement apartment. The basement apartment that was no longer the safe space that it was before. Before the crying.
Before the two of them walked down the main strip, hand in hand, like they were the most badass pair to roam around town. Like it was them against the world. Before he looked straight into her eyes, knowing that he held that moment one beat longer than he intended. Before they sat outside on the stoop, burnt from the sun, but with each other to smoke the last of their cigarettes. Before they devoured conversation and swallowed the air whole. Before he let her drive his car and laughed about how shitty her parking was in the restaurant’s lot.
Before he kissed her mid-sentence. Before he kissed her at all. Before, before, before.
They were stoned, and they were crying. There is no more before now – only after.
After she tells him that she loves him, and he fidgets in his spot on the couch. After she pleads for an answer. After she’s confused. After he’s confused. After he doesn’t know what to say, because it just doesn’t feel right. After she knows the truth but decides not to believe it, not ready yet to let it all go.