I push open the door and feel my body shiver from the cold air that pushes past me to go inside. Winter always came far too soon for my liking. Taking a few strides forwards I turn and head parallel with the building while reaching into my coat pocket.
The pack is nearly empty at this point, but a few sticks remain shoved off to one side of the paper box. I pull out a cigarette and I can feel myself already starting to breath slower. My pounding heart seems to fade away as I reach into my other pocket and pull out the cheap lighter I had picked up just a few hours earlier.
My good lighter was at home tucked away in my spring jacket; forgotten when I made the switch to my winter jacket this morning.
I spark the lighter a few times to get a feel for it. It only goes up every third time, but I shake my head and stick the cigarette in my mouth. I lean forward cupping the end of it to sheild it from the air.
The lighter sparks once, twice, and then comes to live and I breath in trying to draw the flame through the tobacco straw in my mouth. It catches right away, nice and even throughout the entire end and I smile wordlessly to myself. It’s a minor thing to be proud of, but still something that I can find pride in.
The smoke enters my mouth and down my throat covering my insides with chemicals that will no doubt be my death. I shake my head, ridding myself of those thoughts as I hold the smoke inside of my lungs. I breath out slowly, letting the smoke lick the roof of my mouth and seep around my teeth.
My head feels lighter, my heart is now a calm dull thud and I can feel every muscle in my body relax. And, as soon as it comes the feeling goes. I take another drag from the cigarette trying to chase the initial euphoria that hit me. It comes and I smile to no one, as I lean against the building. The snow on the wall melts as it comes into contact with the back of my coat and I breath out once more another plume of smoke emitting from my lungs and into the world.
A few more drags and the cigarette has shrunk. A stub of itself and I throw it down onto the snow covered ground. The orange glow fades instantly as it comes into contact with the mix of slush and mud that covers the ground. I breath out once and white smoke comes out once more, though this time from the cold air, not from smoke in my lungs.
I look down and see the butt of the cigarette. My hands seem to move themselves, as they reach for my pocket to pull out the almost empty pack. I pause them, I fight them, I command them to stay away as I stare, eyes locked onto the butt on the ground.
It seems to multiply, another one appearing next to it and it’s only then that I realize my hands had not obeyed my commands, my pleas. The pack in my pocket it one more cigarette lighter and I shake my head trying to rid myself of thoughts of death once more.
It’s fruitless, as the butts on the ground seem to increase in number every time I blink. The thoughts of disease fill my brain and I question myself. I question my choices, I ask myself how I found myself where I am. I can’t answer. Three now. Three cigarettes lit up and offered to the air. Three cigarettes of death going through my system.
Four now. The pack is empty, it joins the butts on the ground. I shake my head a final time before turning to reenter the building. I still had work to do.