Life would be a lot easier if I smoked cigarettes, thought Mary, as she sat in the gutter waiting for her bus. She was more sitting on the edge of the footpath, with her feet in the gutter – this is more accurate. Mary thought that the people in cars driving by must wonder – what is that girl doing sitting in the gutter like that? If she had a cigarette though, people would just think “Oh, there's a girl smoking, how perfectly normal!”. Mary sat not-quite-in-the-gutter because the bus stop had no seat. A steel sign strapped to a wooden telephone pole was the extent of it. Sitting is easier then standing, or leaning against the telephone pole.
I should start smoking, thought Mary.
I could stand outside at popular social events, awkward and alone and no one would know. They would just think “Oh, there's a girl smoking. That makes sense”. I would not have to talk to anyone, because I would look busy and occupied. I could smoke so intently that people would know I was unable to focus on anything else at the time. I would ask a cute boy for a lighter even if I had one in my back pocket. Our small talk about progress to meaningful conversation about things with the prefix post-. He would become my boyfriend. He would seem awkward and self absorbed at first. I would change him. O would teach him to love. We would lie smoking and talking after sex. He wouldn't just roll over and sleep, leaving me with nothing but messy sheets, low self esteem and serious questions about my appearance / life / taste in men. We would sit outside at cafes drinking black coffee and eating bagels. He would know every second person walking past, and introduce me to them.
Yeah, thought Mary. Life would be easier if I smoked.