Not like me to do two posts in one day!! But I wanted to read some of my work (is that weird?) and realized that a lot of the links are dead! This last one is a short story “Puff” published on The Scarlet Sound in June 2011. Hope you enjoy.
Nya walked out onto the balcony; a cigarette in one hand, a purple Bic lighter in the other. She closed the balcony door and took in a deep breath. Quickly she put the cigarette in her mouth and lit it, using one hand to shield the wind. Force of habit. It wasn’t windy out.
Nya approached the railing and looked over. She was on the lookout. If Jeremy, her loving boyfriend, saw her smoking he would die of disappointment. Nya blew smoke from her mouth and took in the view from her balcony.
The trash that littered the ground was colorful and varied. Bottles, blue and orange snack wrappers, and assorted dingy brown papers were here and there. Birds rested from flight on a damaged wall just outside her apartment boundaries. She could only imagine what had left the wall this way, barely able to stand. To the left, a large flowing field with blossoming trees, to the right, dirt and debris. The skyline was flooded in light blue and perfectly puffy clouds, cactus spotted mountains and cell phone towers with flashing lights.
The beauty and the disgust of the landscape reminded her of her day: the beauty of her photography, the disgust at a models behavior. I can’t believe that she threw water on me. Crazy bitch. She turned her eyes back to the sky and tried to clear her mind of her Perrier soaked t-shirt, the shirt that she had picked out specifically for that day. For a Valentine’s Day photo shoot she thought a “Love is All Around” t-shirt would be appropriate. Jeremy approved of her choice and his approval always made her happy.
Nya flicked ashes over the balcony then quickly looked over to make sure no one was below. Safe. Her cigarette was half empty. Her time was running out.
She blew smoke from her nose. It burned. The man next door could blow smoke rings.
Nya wasn’t new to smoking though she hadn’t smoked in years. She stopped smoking when she found out that Jeremy found it “un-lady like”. Not to mention the gross and unhealthy side effects. Today’s stress had led her temporarily into her old habit. She had requested a cigarette from a passing stranger on her way home.
Laughter drifted up to her and faded away as she caught a glimpse of a little black boy speeding by on his bicycle. Her brain didn’t register his nappy hair or his torn shirt, only his turquoise earring. His color choice made her smile. More children with visibly worn out shoes, and loud voices pranced by, oblivious to her presence. She could imagine their joy as they gradually wore the shoes down, running and tagging one another as they played anything their minds could create. Their innocence softened her.
She took a final, long drag and flicked the butt of her barrowed cigarette into the street, between a green Mustang GT and the curb. As she turned to enter her home again, she heard the exhaust pipes of Jeremy’s tricked out Honda Civic. A quick sprint to the bathroom for hand washing and perfume and she was back in time to open the door for him.
A gentle kiss on the cheek greeted her as well as the winning smile of her lover. She flopped on the couch and sighed as the smell of his cologne filled her previously sore nostrils. Her down trodden look must have triggered his boyfriend senses. He sat down next to her and wrapped her in his arms. She found comfort in this touch, as always.
“Bad day?” he asked, sympathetically.
“You have no idea.”