Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Last Fag

Disclaimer : Smoking is highly injurious to health and my happy characters are not harmed in the making of this story.


I closed my eyes to the whistling winds and the sun playing between the deep dark lines of my palms. My shorts were greased with mud and dried slush, my skin was slowly turning two shades darker leaving a band of fairness along the lines of my watch.. and yet I didn't feel dirty. I felt like my two year old daughter in the sand as she piles up dirt and everything from the ground to construct a direct road to heaven studded with her three-toothed smile all the way. The sun hid behind some grey blotches as I saw the whole world ahead of me as the past intertwined with the future and blended into the present until I stopped realizing the tense I was living in. I sat there with my thoughts of who I was, who I am and who I will be long before the driving wind ran its life down my t-shirt into the transparencies of life... Another year already.


             I stared out of the car's window as the world above turned a whole blue again. The stars hadn't come out yet, hiding in peace from tranquility waiting for the shadows to rule, to shine in the midst of insecurities and the unknown- To assist the wayfarer's way back home from a joyful day of travel, road and concrete. My eyes traced the way back to the road sliding the gaze through a distant rainbow holding itself for my transit. My hands danced in unison with the music from my player while my other hand played with a cigarette, the last of my pack. I'm going to quit, I told myself and as the mind raced ahead of times to reach the beach house, I reached out for the last fag.. so that the waiting petrichor doesn't lift me off my senses. To be grounded somewhere, I needed it; I thought. It would be my last one, I vowed.
  But I reached for one soon enough. In the depths of the night as I sat next to our mutual friend smoking his happy one. The tip glowed with fiery in its endless perimeters of being and mocked me. I could see tiny devil faces calling me forth. But I said, No. Go away. He took another deep drag before looking at me with a 'don't-you-know?' look.

 What do you mean, he asked. You think he doesn't know about this?

  The green grass we were sitting on seemed to be greener, the stars shone brighter against my dimming vision. My eyes widened for the first time since the power shut down. The angry tip of the white roll began to dim as he sucked on its ends for a high pleasure. I stared at him before slowly questioning in petrified silence.

What do you mean by 'You think he doesn't know about this'? He doesn't know right?

He turned to look at me and spoke the words. 'Of course he does.'

I unearthed a cigarette from his pack and fired it up in an attempt to put off the flames in my heart.


    I rolled out my yellow tent from the bag and set it up driving pegs into the rocky soil. The only sounds I could hear were the restlessness of the night trees, owls and a few deep groans of the wild dogs a little further into the thickets of the forest. I stood looking at the whites of the waves holding its froth up until the shores of the sea only to let them die there, rising with the omnipotent air. I pulled myself close as I realized I was wearing a sleeveless top, my hands naked to the chill of the mountains overlooking the sea. But my feet kept going anyway, away from warmth and fire.

  Hugging myself, I walked along the inner edges of the cliff. I was running through all the yellow and green post-it notes on the fridge. I wondered if my baby had fallen asleep or if she was giving my man a tough time. He seems so busy with his meetings and work and what not... I walk, my feet touching the bare ground, counting the number of sand particles with my sole.. counting my memories as I cross our Royal Enfield conversing with the glowing fireflies.
   Yet another road trip, one more night with the universe before I reach home to the warm hugs of my husband and the gleeful noises of my daughter. One more...


 Want to go out for a fag, he asked, his brown eyes shining wide.
  I looked at the boy I so yearned to be with, knowing that his eyes exhibit the knowledge of my love for him. I contemplated while some music played in my head. Of strings, drums and the flute for reasons I have no clue of.
 I'm trying to quit, I said.
So am I, said he.

   And so we went in, in the common drive of putting off the desire to smoke while we vowed we take the last one in a perfect setting. He kicked the stands off his sleek Royal Enfield, snapped on the helmet on my head and his. Lets go, he said. Tyre wheels skid and I held on.. forever, perhaps.
   I have a perfect place for the last fag, he said whenever the wind permitted me to hear him say anything.
Where? I questioned, the answer to which was barely audible.
  I hugged onto his black jacket and rested my head against his strong shoulders waiting to reach a place where our last fag would be special. If not anything, it would be my last memory with him. College would soon end and he would be off and away with his pretty girlfriend. The roads rolled out ahead of me as I kept staring at the fleeting moments of concrete merging with its past place of being, stretching my vision, running along with the speed of his bike and the water in my eyes. It felt like a trance, that ride for I knew not where he went and my instincts asked me not too. For the last fag, he had said. For the last memory, I had reckoned.

  I was beginning to drift in and out of dreams as he pressed the brakes and stopped the bike. We got off and looked down at the sea which was atleast a fifty feet below our standing. He held my hand as we made the way to the edge, to sit down, our legs dangerously hanging like pieces of plants from the crevices in the rocks. He brought out two long butted cigarettes and lit it up in a jiffy before the wind could destroy its purpose. The sun was slowly sinking as we got to talk. Time passed on and so did the ashes with our periodic tapping. It flew with the breeze towards the shore, mixing with the waters so blue.
  It was now a little dark and the covers of the sky held itself in blackness. The last traces of our last cigarettes were looming into view. We held onto desperate butts while I held in private the last few moments I would be with my closest friend who would soon drift apart. I turned around pondering about the same to catch him look at me intensely. He looked at my face and smiled.

I broke up with her three months back. You know the reason, I reckon.

His face smiled in every bit, his dimples resting rays of the rising moon. His hair flew in the direction of the eastern winds while his eyes bore me on with happiness and a glint of victory.

Do you wanna discuss it over a last fag?  I asked, my hands reaching out for the lighter.


I sat, my legs wavering with the cold weather leaving me shivering with the trees far behind. The world seemed to have rolled ahead of my soul unfolding stars, a moonless night and a lot of fireflies. My bonfire burnt its cracking logs away in a distance throwing sparks in the air, now and then.
  The cold caught me on as I thought I should get back to the tent.To find something that might get me warm But then this can't happen alone.. Not the usual. My eyes welled up with slight tears as I turned around cautiously not to fall off the dry ledge as I saw him walk in silence towards me. He sat next to me as we ended up sitting, seven years back. Legs dangling free with our hearts full of love. Every trip since and every travel after.

Feeling cold? he asked, throwing a blanket around us and I knew I was wrapped around with the  immeasurable weight of his love.
I nodded with a smile, tears given up for his presence as he's always demanded it to be.

 And... do you wanna discuss it out over a last fag? he asked.

 Some more sparks threw up from the fire far away, crackling in laughter as I spit some fire out of my lighter.

                                          Image from the internet.

Submitted for a contest.


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