The coldest January of my life, the coldest of all and yet, I step out, with the Jacket.
take the cigarette out and light it like I light the pyre of sorrows within. Walking on the foggy street, careful enough to not fall down, careless enough to inhale the slow poison, seeking warmth from the night lamps, gazing in to the darkness,
how I enjoy the liberation I receive with each puff that blows in the air. A man of my calibre, a slave to a pack of cigarettes and sometimes, to something as miniature as a matchstick!
How I gave her up for the unconditional, non-reciprocating, paid affection that I share with this absolute fixation.
We were happy in college, we were happy amongst our friends, we were happy we screwed around.. but we weren’t happy together. She loved me she said, I loved her I said, but in between these spoken words there was a silence we did not expect.
That silence made me light my first. I built a smoke screen to conceal what I wished to speak.
Here I am walking by accompanying in my hand... what I have merited from that relationship.
This cold night, the chill breeze that makes me want to hold the cigarette for longer, closer, and inhale stronger, the craving for her presence, her body is diminishing sooner than I thought.
And THEN, I spotted a drunken old man ..
I made my way to him, I saw an expensive lighter in his humble abode. He caught the gaze, smirked and held it loose in his hands. His hands were rough, dirty, charred, with brittle nails. I could see all his life written in those brittle fingers, which had the marks of burnt cigarettes. I stepped back. He made a gesture, inviting me to sit. I did.
“This lighter, my woman gave this to me when I married her at the age of nineteen. She fell in love with the way I smoked, the way I held her loose like I held my cigarette. We grew, we grew fonder.
But indeed, I grew fonder to the ash I collected in my lungs.
One day, she pleaded me to quit for her baby couldn’t breathe in her.
It was a cold day like this. I set the house on fire with this lighter.
. . .
You see son, no woman is worth coming between a man and his smoke!"
The man spoke with no emotion. I nodded.
I stood up, walked towards the platform, turned around one last time to see him inhale his last puff, and crush it on the ground barefoot.