She watched the smoke rise, aimlessly observing that today it looked more blue than grey; and trying to figure out exactly what trick of light caused it to sometimes appear more grey than blue.
But this was not an important consideration. In the depth of her belly the longing, the hope, was always present. She stared at the narrow, hand-rolled stick, at the wisps rising from the ember in twirling lines, dispersing into the atmosphere, and she thought of all those death-giving chemicals disappearing into thin air. She took a hungry suck at the spit-dampened tip, and another, felt the poison sink deep within her. She would not let the smoke be eaten up by the ether. The cigarette burnt down to the end. She extinguished it into the overflowing ashtray, and rolled another thick one.
All troubles receded into the background in the face of her resolve. Ignoring the nausea, she focused on her lungs, on disease, on death. Cancer, a final cure for all of her ills. She put her faith in it.
If it worked, her children would grieve, recounting the times they had begged her to stop smoking before it killed her. Mercifully, they would never know that they had given her the idea.
©Jane Paterson Basil