The defining moment was when I’d been to the grocer to pick up a treat – oranges with my last $2 – why not spend your last two in style. I was walking home, pining for nicotine, when I saw a half spent cigarette on the pavement. Before that moment I’d never before considered smoking anything that wasn’t freshly rolled, let alone a cigarette that I’d found. But sure enough, I picked it up.
I decided to take it home and relax in my yard to enjoy the company of the smoke. The blue-grey fumes were like an old friend that was seldom seen in those ‘my frugal times’. It was only upon closer inspection did I notice the paper encasing the tobacco had tears in it (any smoker will tell you vehemently – as all of us at one point have torn our last cigarette – that a single hole in the paper makes the draw through the filter so much less satisfying). It had no doubt endured a rough existence since being prematurely discarded.
With every laboured draw of that abridged cigarette I knew I had to change the terms of my reality. It satified my addiction and fuelled my desire for much more.
A week later I was working in a glass cutting factory. And with work comes reward. Thursday was pay day. Four days into my post as morning-shift sweeper I took lunch alone, made the walk to the estate’s supply store and purchased my prize. I stood barely 20 metres from the shop’s entrance, unwrapping the fine metallic coated paper inside the packet, knowing that good things come to those who wait – better things come to those who work.
Written 10th February 2016