Short Stories

The Purple Lighter


She lit up a cigarette; her hand shaking as she tried to get the fire of the lighter closer to her Gitanes Super Lights, and her eyes gazing from behind her frameless glasses at the flickering fire. She inhaled the smoke in, and then placed the lighter neatly on the pack of cigarettes sitting on the rectangular wooden coffee table. She exhaled a white cloud of cigarette smoke that slowly mutated into a million shapes before they disappeared into the air.

The coffee table was a mess; papers scattered all over, a worn-out black diary lay open to today’s date, with a blue ball-point pen sleeping carelessly on top of it. A small bottle of water stood guard near a white mug full of black filter coffee that she had just made, two cigarette packs, a purple lighter that was aligned on top of them, and a semi-filled glass ashtray that awaited the ashes patiently.

“I’ve always tried to be organized.” She said as she exhaled the white smoke, and, with a swift gesture, removed her hair from her face. “But I could never be as organized as she was.” She smiled as she looked at the purple lighter that lay there. “All I got from her was the purple lighter.”

At this moment, her eyes froze staring at the lighter she was speaking of. Her lips tightly pressed, her white-filled hair tied to the back. I sat on the pale blue couch watching her, trying to access her thoughts that now seemed to be a mirage appearing and disappearing from far, far away. I tried to see what she was seeing, imagining scenarios and dialogues. Across from me he sat, in his white linen pants and his blue striped shirt. He was drawn into her, like a moth is drawn to the fire. He was mesmerized; like a child attached to his mother, and just as I had always remembered him. But he was a man now.

She broke the silence with a shaky tone of voice. “Let me tell you about the purple lighter”.

Her eyes were still fixated at the direction of the lighter, now filled with tears she fought hard not to give them the freedom to rush down her cheeks.

To be continued…

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