Smoke Break

   Janine said, “There’s strength to be found in living. The pursuit, the promise of a reward.”  She tapped her cigarette on the stone bench, making it final. An absolute truth. 
But Nick took one more long drag and looked over at her. “Really? You’re going to tell me there’s a reward to all of this mishegas? After everything I just told you about my shattered family? Come on. I’m supposed to move on with those pearls of fortune cookie wisdom?”
Janine stood up and pressed down firmly on her skirt. Perturbed, but used to Nick’s retorts, she replied, “I didn’t say you had to agree. It’s helped me and I thought it might help you, even though I know there’s always a shadow bearing down on you.”
“Well, sure. Debt, illness, a broken heart. Shadows, really. Chasing me and surrounding me.” He stood up and flicked his cigarette at the garbage can. Janine walked off towards their office door. “Yet here we are. In the warm sunlight.”

© 2023 Jeff E. Brown. All rights reserved.

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