You Can’t Smoke
It stung my nose, and made me want to sneeze.
She took a step back, a concession. She angled her face away as she blew out tufts of smoke. They were strangely fluffy, despite their toxicity.
“You should really stop that,” I said.
“Can’t help it,” she replied, not yet looking at me. “I sort of picked it up at my last job. It’s something you do to survive.”
I shut my mouth. I was incapable of such things—her job, coping up with the stress, coping up with such an additional burden in my lungs. Maybe, I idly thought, this was the reason why we haven’t even kissed yet.
“Won’t you let me try one?” I offered.
Now she looked at me. It wasn’t pleasant. “I’m doing this so that you won’t.”
“So you know how bad it is.”
“Yeah.” I traced the smoke trails with my eye. They were so beautiful when she blew them.
“You’re gonna die before me, aren’t you?”
She grabbed my arm. Her thumb clipped her middle finger securely. “In your shape? Don’t count on it.”
I raised my arm, peering at it like an alien object. “I can get better.”
This time, she blew her smoke right into my face. “That’s what I said, dear. When I started smoking.”