The Last Cigarette

When I was young, I once believed that love could last forever. You know, the kind of love you read about in fairytales, but no, life has proved all too well that that is just a lie. Nothing lasts forever, that’s why I’m sat here, alone, shaking, shivering not with the cold but with the fear of the unknown.

The cigarette dies slowly between my fingers, two more drags and it reaches its end. I flick it out onto the balcony before me and watch its dying gasps against the solid floor. I smile coldly. How like the past year, ignited with a spark, enjoyed then extinguished, leaving nothing but a taste. Enjoyment and damage all from something so small.

Behind me the flat rattles with its silent ghosts. Memories. So few arguments existed here, but the laughter has long since been forgotten and only the silence remains in its wake. I sigh. Click, flame, inhale. Another cigarette breathes to life in my shaking hands. Welcome to this moment, sorry for its lack of sunlight.

It wasn’t always like this; it used to be fun, happy. Two lives filled with laughter. I loved him you know, I really loved him, still do, only now it just feels hollow. I guess he loved me; he said he did but we never truly know for certain do we? That’s where trust comes in. Long story short, our relationship rotted within these four walls in front of a television screen. Conversations gave way to cold silences; entwined sleeps to opposite sides of the bed. When you live with someone, that’s when you realise how different they truly are to the vision in your head. I guess you stop growing as people, and when you stop growing you start rotting.

The cigarette breathes its last and stumbles to the floor to be next to its brothers. I watch it for a second before getting to my feet and walking into the flat. I let my feet guide me through, they’ve walked this path so many times that now it’s an unthinking movement. Everything is as it always is, in the allotted place, nothing just randomly positioned. That’s the way he likes it, so that’s the way it’s maintained. There is only one difference though, one major difference. The flat is devoid of anything that belongs to me, well when I say that I mean the things that indicated my existence, the personal elements of my part in the relationship. They are somewhere else; these are my final moments.

I stand in the doorway to the living room. The tear falls down my cheek slowly. I smile. A memory. Melt away all the furniture to the shell that existed when we arrived that first night with the keys held in our eager grips. He opened one door; I opened another. Unlocking the future together. Image, him stood there by the fireplace, voice echoing around the vacant space. ‘So this is it,’ his voice warm.

‘Yup, any regrets?’

‘No, it couldn’t be more perfect.’

Cut the scene to a few hours later. Returning from having a cigarette to find him sat there, face covered in coal from his attempts to get the fire working. Us snuggled in front of it on the wooden floor, drinking microwaved tea from glass tumblers. All that mattered was that we were together, that was all we had.

Ten months later. The same room, the same voice now devoid of warmth. ‘This, whatever it is, is over.’

Back in the present, I can’t will my feet into the room, it doesn’t belong to me anymore; it belongs to the feet of my ghosts, my memories. I wipe my face. Stupid tears what good will they do? There’s no magic garden under my feet that will be reanimated by a drop of love. There is no fairytale ending here. This is the end of the countdown. Those days, hours, minutes all led to this point.

I work a cigarette into my mouth and light it. I’m not allowed to smoke inside but I don’t care right now. It’s my final middle finger, a lingering scent of me. Pulling my bag onto my shoulder I open the front door. Tear stained face, hollow soul and drained I take a final look around. This is just the end of a chapter.

The door closes behind me. Without so much as a ‘goodbye,’ I lock the tomb of my memories.

The Last Cigarette

Dom Lyne

London, United Kingdom

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

The original piece of prose that was used for the cut-up experiment ‘Five Cigarettes’.

Artwork Comments

  • redlighttgo
  • rubyjo
  • ambient-1
  • Rikki Woods
  • colorblind
  • MarkezzAckui ...
  • Dom Lyne
  • IntriCate
  • Dom Lyne
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