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Shocking! Social Smoker Still Smoking


Photo by Tana Cuturela

Sydney sits crossed-legged on the bench outside Castle, spending her last night with her friends before her drive back to the Suburbs of Philly for Coronacation. Her drugstore highlighter glistens in the moonlight as she quietly reflects on the invaluable experiences she's had this semester: frat hopping. Sydney takes a drag of her cigarette, inhaling a little bit too loudly and drawing the attention of her friends. She thinks to herself, “my life is like a movie.” 

Sydney fumbles around her twelve Canada Goose pockets to pull out her packet of Marlboro Gold Longs. She hands them to Raluca, the international student from Latvia she met just a few days ago. 

“These are for you Raluca. I’m giving you those as a goodbye gift. I’m blessed to have met you and you have had such an impact on me.”

Raluca looks puzzled at the total of three (3) cigarettes. “Um.. thanks! Why are you giving these to me?”

Sydney has been prompted. It was her moment to speak her truth.

“This was my last cigarette.”

She takes a long drag.

“I consider myself to be a social smoker. Now that we’re being sent back home for online classes, I won’t have any parties to go to.”

She takes a longer drag. The cigarette burns almost to the two golden lines.

“I won't be needing these anymore” 

At this point, her next drag literally combusts the fiberglass filter.

“There’s no point in keeping the pack, so I’ve decided to give them to you because I know you need them Raluca.”

Raluca hands the pack back to Sydney.

“Baby, I don’t think that’s your last cigarette.”

Sydney, slightly offended, decides maybe Raluca isn’t who she thought she was and doesn’t deserve her offering. Sydney has no other option but to keep the pack.

Weeks into quarantine, Sydney, the social smoker, posts her sixth captionless photo of the night sky, with a burning cigarette in hand.