Thursday, October 12, 2006

30 Days

I wait for him at a table outside, where I can enjoy one of the final days of warmth in the golden glow of the Manhattan autumn. The table next to me is smoking Marlboro Lights and blowing smoke rings in my direction.

It is the perfect moment to lean over, make conversation and ask, "Might I possibly bum a smoke? I just quit a few weeks ago, but it is the perfect day to cheat. And a light too?"

This is the type of day and the type of situation that requires a cigarette. A sunset, lounging at an outdoor cafe, and an evening of long conversation ahead mean smoking half a pack. I want a cigarette. I want to smoke.

But I don't.

"Ingrid? So Sorry, I'm late."

He waits for me to stand and give him a hug.

"You must be Matt. Nice to meet you."

And I awkwardly allow him to wrap his arms around me and squeeze. I note his hard chest.

"Man I've had a long day. I could really use a drink."

He calls the waitress over.

"I'll take a glass of Merlot. You?"

And he points to me.

"Diet coke. Thanks."

I don't drink. Another addiction I suffered to give up. I wait for the awkward moment when he asks me why I am not drinking. But he doesn't. Instead, he looks up at the waitress.

"Actually, that sounds good. I'll take one of those instead. But regular. Not diet. OK?"

And the waitress rolls her eyes and turns on her heels.

"You can have a glass of wine if you want," I insist.

He looks back at me and smiles. He's dashing. Although my friend said he was 40, he doesn't look a day over 30 except for the light flecks of gray peppering his dark hair. He has a cool confidence. He seemed smart on the phone.

He leans over the table.

"It's okay. I have a feeling you will be entertainment enough for me this evening."

I try not to smile out loud.

"Last chance for a vice."

"Really. It's okay. In fact, let's move inside. The smoke is going to kill me. Unless, of course, you smoke. You don't, do you?"

I scrunch up my nose in disapproval.

"No. I don't. Please. Do I look like the kind of woman who smokes?"

30 days, and counting.

1 comment:

tallglassofvino said...

f*ckin FANTASTIC! Only after returning to an environment of a smoker (my father) made me realize how invasive that habit is - to everyone around it - and how much more enjoyable the world is without it.

Good on ya. Very.


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