Vows (Short Story)


My legs are growing numb from having sat in a chair for so long. It has been three hours since my last smoke. While looking at the clock on the computer screen, I text the wife to let her know that I would miss our daughters ensemble. I am the last one in the department again. Why can’t Christmas be here already? Between this weather and the Holiday rush it is a miracle that I am able to muster more than a smile a day during this time of year without first drowning in eggnog. Damn, I need a smoke.

I realize that I forgot my coat on the way down the elevator. Second time today that I’ve done that while going out for a cig. I will die of pneumonia way before the surgeon general’s warning catches me.

Leaning up against the “ None smoking area” sign, I fire that baby up and look up into the dark, starless night while watching the first exhale flow into nothing. My first small smile of the day, and the day is mostly burned.

I notice a flash of light from the office door opening and one of the newly hired ladies, that works three floors down, exits the entrance and slowly strolls toward me. The clicks of her heels devour the silence of this night’s morning. She is stunning and at least ten years younger than me and she is the one that my colleagues have privately whistled at. I glance back into my sky. She comes right up to me and asks for a light. I pull my Zippo out and strike a flame. She holds the end of her smoke over the fire like she is lighting a fire cracker. I notice the ring. She looks me over and states that I have to be freezing. I tell her that I have never been better. She smiles and says, “ Well you are hot tonight”. I feel my first grin in at least ten years while saying thank you. She looks me in the eyes, winks than flicks her smoke onto the sidewalk and strolls back into the office building. I am sweating.

We never spoke again.


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