The Red Lighter

Blue Lighter

We were hanging out a tram stop. Only one tram actually went past there, and it was four stops past the most used ones on the tram’s route. We weren’t bothering anyone by hanging out, and nobody came to bother us.

There were five of us, and I was the oldest of the group. Everyone was either stoned or drunk. Everyone except for me. I hadn’t started drinking back then. And I’ve never gotten into the habit of weed. I tried it once, and decided that this wasn’t for me. They seemed to be enjoying it though. They always did. Even though they weren’t old enough to use, legally speaking.

I was 18. They were all between 15 and 17.

It was not too long after I moved out of my mom’s place after a fight with my stepfather. I was still into Japanese culture and anime. Books weren’t really my thing. I was still extremely depressed most of the time, something that would only get much worse soon after because someone incredibly important to me would die. If there really is a thing such as finding yourself, then I was pretty far away from it.

Looking back, I can see the other kids around me were likely in the same kind of position. We all lived in an old house, each had his own room. We were all a ragtag group of youngsters who left their homes under special conditions.

I was only supposed to stay there until I found a more suiting place to stay after I ran away from home and decided to never set foot in my old house again. A day became a week. A week became a year. Then after the year, I found my way somewhere else.

I’ve sort of started wandering from that moment on.

So it goes.

It was becoming dark. Nobody knew how long we had been at the tram stop. There wasn’t even a reason we were hanging out there. It was only 5 minutes away from home. We probably decided to go there when we were all hanging out together and a few of them decided to smoke weed. Not everyone enjoyed the thought of weed going through the house. We’d often ended up smoking outside. Or at least, “we”… Well, you know. They. I’d just end up following them and going along for the ride soberly.

“I’m telling you, this is my lighter!” The one girl in the group said, holding up a lighter to the guy who was on my floor. Most people on our floor had recently moved out, so it was just us up there.

“What do you mean by ‘your lighter?'” He said. “You borrowed it from me an hour ago. I want it back.”

“No, you gave me a red lighter. This one is blue.” She said, holding the red lighter in front of his eyes.

“Bullshit.”

“Fine. Look.” She turned to me. “What color is this lighter?”

“Blue.” I said, my face completely straight. I remember I really wanted to laugh.

“What color is this lighter?” She asked, turning to another kid.

“Blue.” He responded.

She went the entire circle. By the time she was done, not one single kid had said red. The guy thought on this for a while, and then decided to drop it. He didn’t mention the lighter again that night.

At first I thought he was just playing along with it. But when later on he freaked out because of a passing tram that he hadn’t noticed before, I realized he was far gone. Completely stoned.

It hadn’t been dark for too long when a police car parked across the street, both officers staring at us from the dark of the interior. They didn’t take any action, all they did was stare at us. We stared back for a while, before we disbanded and rushed back home.

It wasn’t until a few years later when I realized they probably wouldn’t have done a thing anyway, since we weren’t disruptive or noisy in any way. Sure, it was illegal, smoking weed in public, minorities doing it at that… But the police tends not to enforce things that strictly most of the time. I learned that when, during a birthday party, I ended up eating pizza and drinking beer in a public park to celebrate a birthday party with another group. The police stopped, stared, and left us to our drinks. We actually were loud, and likely disruptive that time.

The next day I happened to be in the hallway when the girl tried to return the guy’s red lighter.

“Here. It’s yours.” She said.

The guy stared at her for a while. “That’s not mine. You told me that was yours yesterday.”

“Yeah, but uhm… I lied. It’s actually yours.”

He didn’t want to believe it. Said he wouldn’t fall for this kind of mind tricks again. Shaking his head, he made his way back to his room and closed the door behind him.

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