Nicotine Sunrise

4:43 AM.

Smoke spiralled upwards, making intricate patterns against the purple, sequined backdrop of dawn. The dull embers were a dead giveaway in the darkness, as her fingers carelessly caressed the cigarette, twirling it over and over; compulsively, absentmindedly. It seemed to fascinate her, this little smoking stick. She twirled the cigarette some more, watching the smoke rise in graceful ribbons, like those of a gymnast.

She tapped it lightly. A few flakes of ash fell off. The embers turned a little brighter and beckoned to her. The filter touched her lips ever so softly as nicotine flooded her body. She closed her eyes.

So this was what it felt like to burn your money away, she thought, exhaling. Her elbows rested on the ledge; her head hung between them, dark hair waltzing with the light breeze. Looking up, she noticed a window light up in the opposite building. A family lived there, she knew. A man, his wife and their child. As the low rumble of the water pump stirred the air, she wondered how it must feel to live like that. To have someone to return to every night and wake next to every morning; to have a career, a reason to move out every day, knowing somebody at home appreciates every effort you make. To find a small piece of your own self in another person: your motivation in their happiness; your strength in their vulnerabilities. What must it feel like to be a part of something?

The window went dark again, leaving her with questions murkier than the nicotine threads issuing from that little stick. It wasn’t so much the drug that made her think(she hated it) than the smoke that clouded up her mind and vision – obscuring her senses but making the empty space beside her seem ever more apparent.

She looked at the cigarette again. It was now down to its last breath; the glow inching slowly towards her fingertips. Oh, how he’d disapprove…she thought to herself, chuckling as she took a long, final drag. Allowing the smoke to embrace her insides for longer than usual, she exhaled, reminded of parting glances and last kisses. That last kiss.

She stubbed out the butt and turned away from the infant sunrise, heading back into a room full of broken glass and people passed out on chairs.

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