How these memories of what’s lost, keeps on, taking over, our, lives…can’t find that familiar taste of cigarette, no matter how hard she’d, tried…on estrangement…translated…
Her first cigarette, was from her, father, he’d taught her to, smoke.
On an ordinary afternoon, she’d gone out with her father, on his deliveries. She was out of school that afternoon because she’d sustained an injury from the fall off the steps, bumped her head, got sent to the hospital for it. The school contacted her father, to have him pick her up from the hospital. He was working, and all the deliveries he was making were all, urgent, he couldn’t, drop her off at home first.
That final place where her father took her to deliver the items was, a famed restaurant, located adjacent to the River of Love. They were, clearly, late, and, everybody was busying in the supper rush hours, nobody came to sign off on the deliveries. And so her father parked his truck by the side of the road, stood on the sidewalks with her, with the boxes of refrigerated orders taller than she was between them.
illustration from UDN.com
Waited for too long, her father asked her, can I smoke? She’d nodded. He’d lit one up, walked, to the, side.
He normally wouldn’t mind these sorts of small things, but every month, her father would take her to her maternal grandmother’s home, and that was the only chance she got to visit with her mother after they split up. Every time when the weekends came around, her father would fall, silent, lost in his thought, and would ask more than usual questions of her. Like, if she’d minded that he’d, smoked in front of her or not.
As he smoked, he’d found her, squatted down, holding her head down, like she’d fallen, ill. He looked at her, then, pushed out a cigarette, offered it to her.
He’d taught her which end to smoke on, which end to lit the fire to, then, told her to get close to the lighter, to take the inhales, slowly.
Her father believed back then, that smoking could ease her headache a bit, it was so stupid.
In actuality, it wasn’t that she’d felt ill, that she’d held her head, just felt, that it was weird and new, feeling the sutures on her head, the bumps, she’d patted her scars light.
It was quite on the ride that day, all the way until the employees at the restaurant came out, there was only a garbage truck that’s passed them by, and, it wasn’t on duty, because “The Maiden’s Prayer” wasn’t playing.
Late one night after she turned adult, as she was having instant noodle at a 7-Eleven afterwork, there was someone that looked like her father. The two of them had become estranged, stopped contacting one another, and suddenly, she’d wondered, which brand of cigarette her father had, smoked. She’d worked hard, to try and remember, but nothing about what the box looked, like. And so, she’d asked the clerk for one of every available, smoked one from the various packs a day, but hadn’t found one that’s tasted exactly like the one she’d remembered, and the packs got, stashed in the drawer below that drawer of change.
On her thirty-third birthday, that man who she’d met for the very first time opened up her drawer, asked, that she’d smoked that much. And, the moment she saw that drawer and its, contents, she’d lost it, chased that man out, and, used the entire evening, to smoke every cigarette out of every box again. But until light the following morn, in the tears, she still, couldn’t, find that scent that she was, familiar with when she was a young child. She ended up, holding her head, bent over, sat on her, floors.
So, this is how this woman is, searching for her father’s taste and scent, but that taste, that scent had already, been lost through time, and can’t ever, get found back again, but she’d, missed that particular moment of intimacy, of getting close to her own father, as that, was a once-in-a-lifetime encounter, and she’d, longed to, get that taste, that scent of her father’s, cigarette back, so she could, hold on to him, but she can’t find that back, because all’s been, lost, through, time already!
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