Smoking Allowed

SHE SAT DOWN. The waiting room changed faces, caught colour over the metallic chatter of chairs and windows. She pulled the purple scarf closer to her skin and threw her hair back. The intense light coming from the huge windows made her seem dark, an unknown figure to the passengers that entered the waiting room. Her fingers clutched the purple scarf and loosened it.

Bags, cases and suitcases came and went in silence. No one talked, all smoked.

She looked up from where she was sitting. A young man came to her while desperately trying to find something in his pockets. She smiled but he didn’t see it. He took out a cigarette and pushed it softly against his lips. Her hands slid down her thighs and rested on her knees. She kept looking up at him waiting as if the briquette was dead without her vigil.

A wheeled suitcase passed them making an annoying rumble.

Occasional coughs disturbed the smoky silence.

He sat down beside her. The waiting room changed moods, colours roared through the metallic flutter of chairs and windows. He pulled his leather jacket tighter to his shoulders and drew a long breath of smoke from his cigarette then slowly pushed it out. As he sat down he became another dark figure in the room, another unknown outline to the passengers that entered the waiting room. He looked at her and smiled but she did not see it.

Above the window a black and gold sign said Smoking Allowed. No one talked, all smoked.

He bent forward with his elbows on his knees and looked down. She leaned with her head against his left shoulder while stroking his blonde hair. He took the cigarette to his lips and took a long breath. The cigarette burned like a red eye against their dark figures. She turned her face towards the window and rested her chin on his shoulder while violently blinking as to stop a tear from coming out. He took another long breath and spit it out.

Suitcases came and went like in a big dance routine. No one talked, all smoked.

The cigarette was more than half done. She came closer to him as if to smell him. Her face rested on his neck for a while and he propped his cheek against her dark hair caressing it gently. She gave an arid kiss to his neck. He smiled but she didn’t see it. Nobody saw it. They were two unknown figures in a waiting room, on a metallic bench, beside a gold and black sign which said Smoking Allowed.

Flight seventeen bound for Bern is now boarding at gate six. No one talked, some walked away.

The cigarette was almost finished. She nested her hand inside his and moved it continuously like a baby in a womb. He brushed her hand with his fingers. With one long breath the cigarette was finally over. He pushed it against the metallic rubbish can and then threw it away. He gave a short kiss to the corner of her mouth and stood up to search for his passport. She looked up as another man came to sit beside her.

The other man sat down beside her and took out a pack of cigarettes while searching his pockets for a lighter.

Bags, cases and suitcases came and went in silence. No one talked, all smoked.

The young man found his passport and made a sign with his head to the girl. It was probably time to go. He offered to help her up. She stood up and looked at her bag.

‘Do you happen to have a lighter?’ the other man asked her. She suddenly looked at him.

‘I’m sorry, I don’t smoke!’ she answered and quickly went away to catch up with the young man.

(END)