“Can I bum a smoke?”
This is how we meet — her asking this favor, not because she’s cheap or lazy, but because, like so many, she’s not willing to commit to her addiction. Regardless, I hand her a cigarette, which she reaches for with a telling anticipation that makes me smile.
“What’s so funny?”
The smile is the new laugh.
“Nothing.” I reach toward her and flick the Bic in my hand. “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”
She leans in, cig between her Revloned lips, matching fingertips tucking her hair behind her ears. Something in the way she moves reveals a loveliness that exceeds the beauty of her face.
“Don’t you mean give up?”
I laugh. But her words confirm a suspicion. “Despite your shine, there’s an air of sadness to you. How come?”
“Wow. Thank you,” she says, her words painted with sarcasm.
“For being honest?”
“For being honest,” she says, disdain trumping sarcasm.
“So you’re not going to answer the question?”
She steals a drag and the honesty billows from her lips. “Time is not what it used to be and life is not what I thought it would be.”
Then and there, I stumble. I fall. I fall for her — like so many have before.
“Hmph. Blues in a drag,” I whisper, which makes her smile and look my way.