She Plays the Violin- Part 6

Sophie is the one who first gives Violet a cigarette. They’re sitting outside a club on Main Street in Richmond on a humid June night, sunk onto their haunches to keep their pants from getting dirty, when Sophie pulls out a thin, white tube and lights it. “Dare you to smoke it as fast as you can,” she says, and Violet does. Sophie watches intently as Violet coughs after every inhale. “How does it feel?” she asks, a few minutes later.

“My lungs are burning up,” Violet gasps, but already she can feel that the cigarette’s fire is clearing the way for a pleasant buzz to take hold of her body. She hears the opening strains of the first song by that night’s band – a ska group from Northern Virginia – and stubs the butt out on the cement, feeling fuzzily sophisticated. Inside, the music’s rough magic peels away any doubts she had, leaving her calmer than she’s ever been before.