No, not mist.
Fog. Dense fog. It was all over town. It was all he saw through the window of the bar so long as his eyes where not engulfed by the smoke inside the bar. A damp, dark place, full during this time of day, this time of year.
He was sitting on a table near the door, eased on the chair, puffing blissfully; his legs crossed beneath the table, merging into one due to the black colour of his jeans with heavy combat boots at the end. Long coat with a high collar covered almost all of his face – the smoke covered the rest.
He heard tramping coming closer and turned towards it.
– Good evening, mister. What would you like to drink?
It was the waitress – a young, blond girl with big smile and shining eyes.
– A cup of coffee. Double. And a cup of capuchino.
– Are you expecting someone? – she dared to ask.
He didn’t respond. At least not immediately. The waitress turned around slowly, awkwardly, and walked away.
– Yes, I am. – he said, more to himself, than to the girl, and puffed again, blissfully again.
Puffing silently, he was waiting.
The door opened. A young woman came in the bar, a woman with pitchblack hair, pale face and sapphire eyes. She stood, looking around, until she spotted him, and approached. She saw his coat and his high-collar-sweater and said:
– Aren’t you hot?
– Some people think I am. – he inspected her toe to head and noticed her thick furcoat, combined with a short skirt. – You must be cold. – he stated.
She glared upon him, her eyes drilling into his.
– I have become so.
– Have a seat, will you?
She complied, albeit still glaring at him. At his smoke, his cigarette.
– You know I hate smoke. Why did you choose this place?
– You said you don’t care where. I was close to this bar. Besides, I’m always here.
The waitress came, carrying the coffee and the capuchino and left them before him, then set off.
– But she didn’t … – began she and suddenly stopped, as he pushed the capuchino towards her. She almost smiled.
– On the contrary. – he stated. – She did. So, to the point. Why did you call me at all?
– For the reason I always do. – she replied. – To talk.
He poured some sugar in his coffee and lit another smoke.
– Alright then. As I always say, – he inhaled deeply, – I’m listening.
She tiff a little and placed the cup back on the table.
– I’m devastated – she said abruptly.
– Again. – irritated, she replied.
– We’ve been all over this, my dear. It’s the same, isn’t it?
– Yes. – she said coldly. – I hoped that if I call you again, it won’t be on that occasion. But alas.
– Then you’ll hear nothing different than what I’ve told you before. You know what to do.
– I know. But I can’t.
– It may seem unlikely to you, but I do feel your pain.
– Do you? – she marveled. – And how exactly did you…cope with it?
– You don’t “cope” with love. Love is like…fear.
She raised her eyebrows high.
– I mean, that love. It is a mind-killer. It is the little death that brings total obliteration. You must face it, embrace it. Let it flow through you and past you.
– And then?
– Then, when it does, you turn around andsee its path – he paused for a second, – and there will be nothing left.
– Only you.
– You want me to end up like you? Alone?
– Not alone. Free. You want it, freedom. You want to feel the warm breeze or the gentle touch of rain again. Feel it without the memories. Without the pain. Without the anguish. That’s why you came to me. – he puffed again, treaded the cigarette and lit another one. – And you know I’m right. That’s what scares the crap out of you.
She gulped. He did hit a nerve.
– I can’t… – she murmured. – I simply can’t…
He laughed, inhaled and let out a thick cloud of smoke.
– You can but you don’t want to. No, my bad. You don’t know what exactly you want. If there’s a will…
– … there’s a way. You keep repeating it.
– Because it’s true! – exclaimed he with raised arms then proceeded to tread out his cigarette.
She fell silent.
– Help me – cried she in the end.
– I will – he nodded, – As usual. You know I do everything for the pack. – he reached for another smoke, but his box was empty. – Crap. I have to go get some. I’ll be right back. – he stood up and headed towards the exit and, as he passed by her, he stopped, leaned in and whispered:
– You know, you are a part of the pack.
Then he walked away.
cover image by Capukat