It was anything but love at first sight. I was sitting on a porch swing on the back deck of my friend’s house. He and his wife were having a party and I was not having a very good time. So I went out to the deck to smoke a cigarette.
That was when she came out onto the deck. She looked at me, made a face, and then demanded that I put out my cigarette. “I simply cannot abide by cigarette smoke,” she said.
My initial thought was to tell the haughty bitch to go fuck herself. This was an outside deck and I was here first. Who the fuck was she to tell me to douse my cigarette? But then I looked over at her and saw this stunningly beautiful vision and decided to be a bit more accommodating. I tossed my cigarette out onto the grass. “Happy now?” I said sarcastically.
She looked at me, said, “Yes, I am, thank you,” and then immediately walked back inside the house. Fucking selfish bitch, I thought to myself, and lit another cigarette.
A few minutes later I walked back into the house and she was standing into the kitchen talking to my friend’s wife. When she saw me, she excused herself and walked over to me. “I was very rude to you before and I want to apologize,” she said, putting her hand out toward me. I didn’t respond. I just stared at her because her beauty, even in the harsh lights of the hall just outside of the kitchen, was breathtaking.
“My father,” she said, breaking the awkward silence, “succumbed to lung cancer six months ago. He had such a zest for life, but couldn’t kick his two-packs-a-day habit until it was too late. The smell of cigarette smoke reminds me so much of him and I’m still having a hard time dealing with his death.”
“Yeah, I can understand that,” I said, finally reaching out to accept her offered handshake.
That was almost twenty-five years ago and the two of us have shared an abiding love ever since that night. And, by the way, that was also the night I quit smoking.
Written for today’s Your Daily Word Prompt (porch), today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt (zest), today’s Word of the Day Challenge (abiding), and today’s Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (love). Photo credit: Frank McKenna.