A Puff of Solace

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“One Marlboro.”

“Which one?” A middle-aged man asked from the other side of the counter.

He doesn’t know. He has never smoked before.

“Advance?”

“Yeah.”

He hands over a 50 taka note to avoid any weird looks from the shopkeeper.

He doesn’t know the price either. He has never smoked.

He tries to light the cigarette. He tries once, fails. He tries another time. The lighter isn’t playing in his favour.

The shopkeeper casts a quick glance through the corner of his eye.

He succeeds the fourth time. He lights the stick. Barely.

Feeling a little awkward, he starts walking. He needs to think. He is about to have a cigarette. He has never smoked before.

“Your father has a heart damage of 75%, son. He’s damaged his heart beyond repair”.

He takes his first puff. As soon as he breaths in the nicotine, his insides turn inside out within seconds and he coughs out.

“Your father needs to have a bypass, or he won’t survive his second heart attack.”

He tries again. Gently this time. He takes a second puff. Breaths in the smoke, closes his eyes. Breaths out.

Not the most wonderful smell or taste, he quickly realizes.

“Smoking has had a vicious toll on your father, Shom. A second heart attack has resulted in lung and kidney failures.”

He takes in another puff, gritting his teeth. He breaths out. This smell of nicotine has covered his insides.

He gets up on a rickshaw.

“Your father couldn’t let go. He couldn’t let go even after suffering one cardiac arrest. He didn’t even think of his son, his daughter, his family.”

By now he can feel his lungs starting to burn a little from the nicotine inhale. The Marlboro burns brighter as he takes every puff. The wind disperses the smoke as the rickshaw glides on through the summer breeze in the late afternoon.

“He’s at a critical condition. He’s been taken to the ICU.”

The Marlboro slowly reaches its finishing point. The rickshaw halts near a graveyard as the rather pale looking boy gets down and walks towards the graveyard. The grim looking place is somewhat familiar to the boy. He comes here often. When his friends are out playing PS4 on their leisure times, or spend time with their girl, he comes to this graveyard. His place of comfort. He comes to a stop near the west side wall of the graveyard and looks at somewhere. Where, no one knows, with the cigarette in his right hand.

He slowly runs through his long messy hair, thinking. After sometime he throws the cigarette into the wall. The cigarette hits the wall and puts out.

He stands there. Quietly.

“This killed you.”

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Well, I'm a no one with dreams as big as the Pacific. A healing sinner, swimming in the river of uncertainties. I write to breathe, I sing to live. Oh yeah, I'm a big sucker for deep conversations about life and Chandler Bing. Not much of a bookworm. Oh oh! A Potterhead! I play the most beautiful game a little, do MUNs a little, cover little bits of songs. Yeah, that's about it. I no one, with dreams as big as the Pacific!

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