Don't Smoke, It Kills Your Lungs
I’m sure that we have all had compelling moments that stick out to us. Sometimes it’s more than that. Sometimes these moments become like scars; in a way that is most lovely. Like a tattoo with a better story. We all have moments that make us laugh, cry, or simply make us want to make a change. Maybe it’s something that someone did. Maybe no one else was involved. It could even be a smell that brings you to another place and time. Well, I have a moment that involves all of the above. It may mean nothing to you, but to me, it was wonderful.
I stepped out of my car; it was a cold, fall day. I could feel winter starting to breathe down my neck. It was early morning. I remember watching my breath escape me. Viewing it like a train puffing smoke down a track.
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I couldn’t help but smile. In this very moment, inevitably happy. The walk through that small, Pilot parking lot seemed to take forever. My feet were nearly frozen. But still, I was enjoying myself, so, I stopped and looked. I noticed that the sunrise was one of the most beautiful things that I have ever seen. Why did I miss out on so many? I guess I let laziness get the best of me, but not today. Today I was up chasing the sun.
After watching the sun rise almost completely, I gathered myself from the bitter cold and went into the store. Finally! I found what I needed, breakfast. At last I could feel something warm. I stood at the register and my impatience started to get the best of me. I was starving! I could smell the food, and could basically taste it. My foot started tapping. “Great,” I thought, “Just great.”
“Hi,” said a voice from behind me.
I turn around to see a tall man. He was wearing long johns, jeans, a flannel shirt. He was carrying a pack of cigarettes, which he was fidgeting with, a lot. He seemed nervous, yet excited. He resembled an older version of Kurt Cobain. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
“Hello,” I said with a smile on my face. “How are you?”
“I’m fine. Enjoying the beautiful morning. I’ve been driving in my truck all night. Sure gets lonely. What brings you out so early?”
“Well, I’m going to fix some things with a guy that I care about very much. I have waited long enough and I really need the closure.”
He looked at me wit ha smile; almost of reassurance. “I wish you the best of luck, sweetie. You see, I’m going to do the exact same thing with a woman who has my very heart. I have been waiting over twenty-five years. I made a lot of bad decisions, and with my pride aside, I can now say that I need her. I needed her all along.” He looked as if he could cry. He glanced down at his cigarettes, then back up at me. He looked a bit ashamed of his habit. “I’m sorry to spill all this out to you. I just needed to tell someone about her. She’s wonderful, you know?”
The smile on my face could not get any bigger, even if you cut me from ear to ear. I was glad to see that someone else out there could be going through the same thing that I was. The fact that he were willing to fix it made me feel less stupid for trying to fix what I thought was impossible. After everyone telling us to give up, we wouldn’t. “Well, sir, I wish you the best of luck. when you see her, tell her I said that she’s lucky to have someone like you. Go for it with everything that you have.”
“You only live once right? I might as well. I say the same for you. And never forget that love is the greatest of all powers. When everything falls apart, hold onto that. You have to promise me that you will, okay?”
“Yes sir, I will.”
“Please, call me Mark.”
“Well, Mark, I promise you that I will always hold onto love. According to the Beatles, that’s all we need anyways.”
He laughed in agreement. “Yes, that’s right!” He began humming that song as he strolled out the door. The faint smell of Black and Mild cigars on his clothes brushed past my nose. I breathed it in. I realized that this was probably the last time that I would ever see this man. I missed him already. Just then, he turned around, looked my in the eyes and said, “Hey you! Don’t smoke. It kills your lungs.”
All I could do was smile. I walked out the door and watched him make his way to his truck. I noticed that he threw his fresh pack of cigarettes into the trash can. He smiled and waved. The moment was so bittersweet. I wanted with everything I had for things to work out for him. And I know that he wanted the same for me. For five short minutes I found someone who seemed to completely understand me.
I sat in my car for a few minutes. Just sat there and thought. I listened to the silence and realized that maybe there is more to life than I ever thought there was. Maybe there is something greater out there. Maybe I have some crazy and amazing purpose. Or maybe I should just listen to more Beatles and stay clear of cigarettes. Or maybe I should just hold onto love. After all, it was a promise.