He was standing outside the old brick building, hair as cool as ever. Like he did so many times before, he lit up a cigarette and took a long draw. He let the hot smoke into his lungs, and held it as long as he could before the smoke thrust from his nostrils. I could tell from the way he carried himself, it felt good, as good as it always felt. Huge clouds of smoke surrounded a man who lived how he wanted to live for as long as he was alive…
Back in the day when it was cool and he was too, the girls at school used to flock where he stood, his long wavy hair blowing in the wind, as he shared his smokes with them.
I was always envious of him, but chose not to join his crowd, I hated the smell that the smoke left on my clothes when I stood next to them, and I found their breaths smelled even worse. But they were cool, there was no doubt about that.
I knew that after graduation, he worked in a car lot, and later he became a mechanic. I know that he married one of the pretty girls at school, but that didn’t work out when he landed in jail for fighting in a bar. He later ran a night club that I never went into. Man, that place was rough!
He drove a big black Caddy most of his life, windows tinted deep black, except for the driver’s window, which was open to let the smoke out. He must have been in his late 30’s at that time, and despite the weathering his rough life provided his skin, he still had a cool way about him. I don’t think I can remember a time where he didn’t have a long white cigarette between his lips.
..as he took in one last draw of his life-long companion, his hands shook briefly. He dropped the still burning ember from the end, rubbed what remained against the bricks, re-connected the oxygen to his nose, and wheeled the cart holding the large tanks back into the hospital.
By Ted White