300 Days of Writing
Day 10: Addiction
He had smelled of tobacco.
She loved that smell, to be reminded of him, that was why she smoked, she explained to her new coworker standing outside in the smoker’s section. The November rain drizzled, more like a mist that chilled them, but not enough to be of concern. She breathed in, relishing the rush of her first drag of the day.
Who? Her coworker asked, nicotine-stained nails from rolling.
Right, you never met him. He used to work here.
Her mind drifted to him. His perfect teeth he bleached religiously at the dentist so no one would ever guess his filthy habits.
Did you date?
Something like that.
She remembered their first night together. The company had gone out to celebrate a successful quarter—sales were up, employment was up, and promotions were sure to be on the horizon. After they had drunk too much wine, they’d moved on to gin, and maybe even tequila. The mixing of booze was something she never did, she never really drank, but for him, she would do anything. She needed the courage to talk to him.
And did you talk?
More than. She smiled a wry smile remembering how she’d stripped in the elevator shocking his neighbors, but neither of them had cared by the time she had him on the floor of his kitchen.
What happened? Where’d he go? Move up in the company? Her new coworker sounded hopeful at the prospect of a promotion or elevated status being so close, if only through a story.
No, she said, blowing smoke out through her nose. She’d burned through her first cigarette quickly and was pulling out her box of menthols for another. He left. No word. This was his brand, she said shaking the box under her coworker's nose. They raised their eyebrows at her.
Did you smoke before?
God no. I don’t smoke now either, I just need it for the reminder, like I said.
The reminder? They sounded doubtful and she was annoyed at them.
Yes. The smell. They say smell jogs the memory. And I need to remember him. Always.
So you have no idea where he went? They said stubbing out their cigarette butt with their heel.
No, she lit another wafting the smoke around her like she was cleansing a house of spirits. But he’ll be back.
You sound confident.
I am. He loved me. He said so.