Posted in Anecdotes

Breath

I veered my scooter towards the left, entering the street on which my apartment stands. Two middle aged women who were playing badminton on the road moved to let me pass. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a boy, aged around 15, sitting alone by the side of the lane, gripping a cigarette between his lips and trying to strike a match. I counted one, two unsuccessful tries by the time I crossed him.

In my head, I saw myself turning my scooter around and riding towards him, stopping right next to him. He would relax his hands and look up at me, questioningly. I would pause, hesitating for a moment to decide how best to convey what I wanted to, to the young stranger before me.

“You know”, I’d say, “Each breath that we take for granted, that moves in and out of us unseen, may not always remain so. I’ve seen people struggling every second of the day, every single gasp a test of persistence, of never ending pain. I do not know you. I do not know whether this is your first cigarette. All I know is that, with each puff you take, it gets more difficult to quit. Have you heard of marijuana? Cocaine? Heroin? What you hold is more addictive than them all. Before you strike that match a third time, please think whether you need to.”

Perhaps he’d stare at me like I’m deranged. Maybe he would ask me to go to hell. Or stand up quietly and leave. The next time he reaches for a cigarette, maybe he’d think of what I said. Or maybe he won’t.

I would never know how the story ended.

Because it never began.

I got into the lift in the parking lot. As the doors closed, I felt the thought dying slowly inside me, even as the flame must have leapt in between his fingers.

Image courtsey: Amigo SV

Author:

A wayward thinker hiding behind the facade of necessary courtesies

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