Parking Lots

I waited round by the parking lot, leaning against a Range Rover parked on the lowest level. The lights overhead flickered and danced, reminding me of horror films. Thrusting my hand in my coat pocket, I pulled out a pack of cigarettes and a lighter.

Always good for the nerves.

The breeze picked up and the lit flame swayed. Balancing the stick between my lips, I inadvertently thought of all the ‘smoking kills’ adverts. The ones displaying gruesome spew accumulating in lungs of chain smokers.

To hell with them.

I lit it up and took a slow drag, exhaling poisoned air.

“Thought you quit.” A voice reverberated in the empty space, hollow sounding. It was the kind of voice that would do well in those pesky adverts. The kind of voice you’d choose for your conscience because even though it sometimes said the exact things you didn’t want to hear, it at least sounded good. That was Harry’s voice.

“I say that every week.”

“Yeah, you do.” He sighed, standing next to me.

We stood like that for a few minutes, the sound of his shoes scraping in horizontal lines disrupting the silence.

“Everything is fucked.” I muttered.

“What happened?”

“You’re not here anymore.” I stubbed out the cigarette, crushing it under foot. “You don’t nag me about my smoking or any of my other habits… I lost my oldest friend. So I guess, with each cigarette, I’m closer to seeing you. Closer to resuming those talks at 5 am about which shit kicker band we ought to go see next down at the bar because all of them were pretty terrible but the drinks made them sound okay…wow, we used to drink quite a lot. I never thought about it. How many times did we stumble back to our places drunk?”

There was no response. Then I remember he had too many whiskies one night. That was all it took.

The moment of insanity had passed.

I really wished it hadn’t.


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