Solomon never looked as pretty as a garden lily.

   She was the kind of woman who always did what she promised. Or maybe I was the kind of fool who always believed in her promises. Either way, we were perfect for each other. Though looking back, it’s possible that she wasn’t that kind of woman and I wasn’t that kind of fool… but to hell with it. Back then, I saw it all through a haze. “It’s complicated.” “Life is a complicated thing.” I didn’t invent these words. They simply sieved through my brain, along with millions of other brains, and tumbled out of my naïve mouth. Clad in the sound waves of speech, they seemed final, wise and true.

   “I should quit smoking.”
   “You really should. It’s a nasty habit.”
   “But not right now. Not here. Too much stress, and all that.”
   “Oh, come on. Just quit and get it over with. I want you to quit…”
   She opened the oven. I peaked inside and saw a brown-stained cigarette. It lay at a slight angle on the sooty grid and looked neglected and lonely.
   “What’s that?” I asked, nodding at the oven.
   “Ah,” she waved, “that’s the story of how I quit smoking.”
   “Tell me.”
   “There’s nothing to tell. My chest started hurting, so I decided to quit. I pulled my last cigarette out of the pack and stuck it in my coffee…”
   “So why is it in the oven?”
   “Because later I got this intense craving for a smoke, so I stuck it in there to dry. But then I had to run, and while I was out, I bought a new pack.”
   “You should quit.”
   “I can’t do it now. I know I can’t possibly do it now. When I go south…”
   A month later, she was planning her trip south.
   “…then I’ll definitely quit. It’ll be so much easier: the sea, the beach… Mud baths and all that…”
   And wouldn’t you know it, she really went south. And she really quit. Not smoking – me.

   Now, I don’t even know what was better for her health: quitting me or the cigarettes. And anyway, what’s the point of wondering? Shit.
   Though if you think about it, quitting me was probably better. I didn’t want her to lose weight. But the cigarettes did. You know how women love to lose weight.

   “Hey, hairball!”
   I kick off the slippers and stretch on my bed. Squeeze the eyes shut – it’s nice to be finally lying down. I pull my legs up and call again, “Hairball, you goddamn bastard!”
Nothing. Probably sulking because I slapped him. He has some nerve to be feeling hurt, the longhaired freak. If he can get mad over something that trivial, then I, an average specimen of the homo sapiens, should be in a towering homicidal rage over what he’s done. Kill him, and do it slowly. Though that would be nothing new to him, would it… I wouldn’t have thought he could even feel anger.

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