He stood outside the cafe observing her sit at the table and puff severely at her cigarette like some battery-operated novelty toy stuck on the one speed setting. The lines on her face, countless, and indicative of her life’s many heartbreaks, challenges and battles, would no doubt soon be joined by a new battle scar, another creased, worried wrinkle created just by him.
He sucked in his breath walked fidgeting in to join her. The old woman’s rigid body remained statuesque as her eyes scanned up and down the new comer’s body as if searching for a clue on what reaction was next socially expected.
The young man took his seat and tried to adjust to the thick smell of cigarettes that was so vivid he felt as if he could exhale himself.
‘Grandma,’ started the man, ‘I’m moving to England. I’ll be gone by the end of the month.’
The old lady’s hand flung down, suddenly animated, and stubbed out her cigarette so thoroughly it became a mere mess of burnt and fresh tobacco. To a stranger, this action would seem a mechanical charicteristic of a regular smoker – but not to the young man; he knew he had struck a chord.