Enlightened (Autumn Royal)

Verity La Lies to Live By

Old womanSusan started smoking when she was sixty-three.  She was bored with crossword puzzles, vacuuming carpet, and yelling through the tiny holes of the telephone.
While zapping her routine Thursday-night Lamb Rogan Josh, Susan noticed a flicker from inside the microwave. With two minutes left of defrosting, Susan peered into the machine’s food-splattered eye and received an affirming wink. Susan’s heart began to buzz and the microwave beeped with approval. She would heat up her boredom, roast it from the inside.
The spark of the lighter thrilled Susan, giving her a jolt she hadn’t felt since her second husband left five years previously. Susan sucked back the smoke of her inaugural cigarette and she was born again, in a porch-lit moment.
Now following a new routine, each morning Susan dressed herself in her gown, toileted, woke up the kettle and began her act of amendment. Good morning, clicked the lighter. Good morning, crooned Susan.
Susan’s children had long forgotten her, and with cigarette in hand she decided to forget about them. She now concentrated on her recital of coughing up her boredom – of spitting it down the drain along with her recently developed phlegm.
Empty packets of cigarettes soon lined Susan’s hallway and armies of them marched into her midnight dreams. Susan’s lust for nicotine regenerated the feeling of what it felt to be alive and she now craved for a further purpose.
Susan watched as her ashtray overflowed, allowing the disheveled butts to become an extension of her burning body. Looking up at the sun, Susan felt herself become a transitory cloud of suburban smoke and the cinders of her body lay down amongst the cigarette ash – a cheap, yet effective cremation, just in time for the cleaners she had scheduled.