Always The Other Room – Short Story

A Short Story
Always The Other Room 
Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction 1/20/2018
Fiction. Can’t stress that enough for when my family/friends read this. FICTION!

 

‘When you do that. I don’t find you attractive.’ she said.

He finished what he was doing. His eyes slid to the floor. Feeling the same way he always felt when she spoke to him that way.

‘It’s just not attractive. You must know that. No one would like listening to that. Go in the other room and blow your nose. Shut the door.’

He caught a glimpse of his face in the mirror. It was an accidental glimpse. The type you wish to never view, but you did and now it’s too late and you can’t give it back. Because life is like that. You can’t give back what you never wanted. You either have it always, or never.

‘Know what I find unattractive? I find you not finding me attractive unattractive and now I’m wondering why we even bother.’ He heard her sit up. She had been laying down on the couch with a blanket up to her chin. ‘So what’s the point of all of this?’ He walked back into the room. Still annoyed by the pathetic look he found in his mirror. Now though, he wore a piercing look and he looked at her with it.

She sat up more, but kept the blanket over her legs. ‘Because I love you.’

‘Yea? What’s love to you?’ he stood waiting.

‘It’s a feeling. I feel it. You know I’m not good at explaining things.’

‘I feel things too. And right now, I feel this is a waste of our time and has been for years. We haven’t had sex in three months. Not because I don’t want to. I guess that’s a feeling you don’t understand. How that makes me feel, that is. How I walk around wondering what’s wrong with me and then I realize it’s me blowing my nose, or the way I sound when I sleep, or any other thing you dislike about my person.’

‘Don’t, let’s not do this. Calm down. You are always so angry. Just calm down and go in another room.’

He felt the need to slide his eyes to the floor again. ‘It’s always the other room with you. If you dislike being near me so much that you constantly ask for my removal, why then are you with me. I can’t list ten things that you enjoy about me. I can’t. I can list ten things you find unattractive about me and something about that is seemingly off. But hey, I’ll just go into the other room for you. That’ll solve everything.’

‘See. You’re so angry. You need to talk to someone. I wish you would. They could help you. Maybe give you tools to be rid of your anger.’ She picked up her phone, turned it on and started to read. Her head no longer focusing direction on him.

He opened the refrigerator door, grabbed a bottle opener, opened a bottle of beer, tossed the bottle opener loudly onto the counter and emptied the beer. He opened the trash, tossed it in, letting the bottle hit loudly and belched.

‘You know I don’t like when you drink beer that fast, honey. It’s not good for you.’ She said from under her blanket while lying down and reading on her phone.

He opened the refrigerator door.

 

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Should I Call Her – Short Story

Should I Call Her
Short Story
Written by -M. Taggart

‘You’ve been sitting here for an hour thinking about calling her.’

The sun wouldn’t set for another two hours. He liked sitting on the deck and doing this. Watching. Thinking. Drinking beer. What would be the same if he did call?

‘Honestly. Tell me what you’re doing with this? It’s been three days.’

‘It’s a bit like holding onto sleep when you’ve first woken up. You know you’re awake. You want to get up because you know you should be up, but you don’t get up and instead you do nothing.’ Nick said feeling he’d described it as best as he could, but also feeling like he’d left something out.

‘I think you should. There’s your phone. Pick it up. Call. You said she’s interested. How do you know again?’

‘She told me she was. She walked up to me and told me to call her. She took my phone and put her number in the contacts. Smiled and walked away.’

‘And now it’s been three days and you’ve done nothing. Why? Want to sit on this deck forever and look at the sun go down?’

A Blue Jay was screaming. It had just landed in a bush, down below the deck, and now screamed. He wished he knew if the bird was male or female. He should know the difference, thought he had, but now wasn’t sure.

‘Do you have any more of that whiskey? The Whistle Pig whiskey?’

‘I do. Not sure that I want any. It’s where it always is.’ Nick said without looking at Chad. Chad walked into the apartment and came back with two glasses, ice in a dish, and the Whistle Pig whiskey.

‘You know, Nick, you not knowing if you want this whiskey is much like you not knowing if you want to call her. There’s no point in doing nothing other than wasting time. It’s either you do, or you don’t. Once you’ve made that decision, the rest happens. And, you can’t control it.’

A second Blue Jay landed near the first Blue Jay. They both sat on branches near one another and screamed. The sun had dipped. Chad poured two whiskey drinks, added one ice cube to each, and sat down.

‘I don’t like ice in mine.’ Nick said. He let the ice float. Watched as it diluted the whiskey.

‘Nick, she might not be interested anymore. Think of that? Maybe she’s found another guy to give interesting ideas about being interested. You taking three days to call her isn’t ideal. Not in my opinion. Maybe she doesn’t want to hear from you now. Better not call.’

The Blue Jays had stopped screaming. They sat and looked at whatever it is that Blue Jays look at. The sun had dipped slightly more.

‘Maybe she isn’t. Maybe I don’t care. Maybe this deck and this view are all I need.’ Nick knew what he said wasn’t true. He felt his lie inside him.

‘That’s fine. Let’s not talk about it more. Did you see the game last night? The Celtics picked up a good one. He’s 6ft 8 with a wing span of a 7 footer. I think he’s an MVP in the making.’

‘Yea. I guess.’ Nick picked up the whiskey drink. Watched as the ice cube floated to the back of the glass as he tipped it. He sipped the diluted drink. ‘Maybe I’ll call her right now.’

‘Good. What’s her name?’ Chad asked.

‘Jenny.’

‘I’m sorry.’

‘It’s O.K.’

‘I shouldn’t have asked. I didn’t know.’

‘It’s O.K. I’m fine.’

‘I wish I had known, I wouldn’t have asked.’

The sun had dipped slightly more. Chad refilled the whiskey in his glass. ‘Do you want more?’

‘Yes.’ said Nick. ‘What do you suppose happens to the male Blue Jay if he loses her? Do you know? I thought I knew. But now I don’t remember.’

 

**

thanks for reading

ps, it’s my birthday. i’m thankful to have another with my wife. i didn’t mean to write this. it just happened.

Matt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Ending

My cousin has been in my thoughts lately. For things I’m unable to discuss, or write about, for the time being. Twice last week friends from home called me. Twice they pulled over and let my cousin use their phones to call me. They’d found him walking down random roads.

If all anyone hears is the negative said about them, we as humans, often fall into what those negatives are. Rather than focusing on what’s great about them. I prefer to focus on what’s great about someone. In this story I wrote about the good, the bad, the raw. The truth. This story is not PC. I do not write PC.

Grab a whisky, or wine, or a bottle of cold beer. Or room temperature porter, if you so enjoy a room temperature porter. I know I do. Open said drink(s) and take a little read.

Cheers,

I took the picture for this. I stood on the top of Mount Sugarloaf in Sunderkand, MA. Thanks for reading. I’m finally becoming more comfortable with commenting back and forth with a few of you. Thank you for that. It’s certainly not because of me.

Matt

Black Cat Syndrome – A Short Story

Black Cat Syndrome
Fiction
Written by Matt Taggart

Black Cat Syndrome

 

It was late afternoon. The bar was busy. They had taken the last two seats. He sat with his elbow touching the wall. Pete was being crowded by an overweight man.

“I’ll tell you about it. I was walking with Erin. Remember her? She was a good person. I wasn’t ready. Anyway, we were walking toward the cornfield.”

Pete leaned closer to Eric. Not to hear him better, but because the overweight man laughed heavily and rolled his head back and crowded Pete even more.

The bar burst with noise as a new group of happy hour sympathizers opened the door and searched for their area of comfort. Eric noticed how everyone’s body language changed the moment the new arrivals entered their space. He pressed closer to the wall. The wall wouldn’t change.

“Go on. I’m lisetening.” Pete said.

“We were walking toward the cornfield. You could just make out the cliff face of Sugarloaf. I remember wanting to see how high the river was.  As I looked toward the river a black cat came out from the corn then crossed the dirt road in front of us, and went back into the corn on the other side. I said, ‘You see that black cat?’ to Erin. She smiled and nodded her head yes.”

Pete lurched in his chair. A portion of beer leaped from his pint glass and landed on his boots. Pete’s lips thinned and his head tilted slightly. “Mother fucker,” Pete murmured.

Eric observed the overweight man’s forearms. The left forearm had taken over Pete’s bar space. The bartender’s small wrist broke through Eric’s vision as she tapped Pete lightly on the shoulder.

“I’m sorry about that. I saw it. I’ll get you another beer.” She said.

“I’m fine. I have half left.”

“I’m still going to get you another beer. Be as fine as you want.” She smiled as she walked toward the taps while looking back at Pete.

“You’re always doing that. I see what you’re doing. You’re studying everyone.” Pete said.

“I don’t mean to. It just happens.” Even now Eric was looking passed Pete. The bar was dark oak. Half the patrons had food. Everyone had beer. Not one person had a whiskey. Someone needed to order a whiskey. It wasn’t right. The smell of onion rings took over the bar area as a waiter placed the hot plate in front of a man drinking beer. He could barely make out the scent of a woman’s perfume. And now the bartender was coming back with Pete’s beer, already smiling. The conversations filling the room were constant. Creating a noise with peaks and valleys, but it wasn’t random. It had purpose.

“What the hell do you see?”

“I don’t know. Nothing really.”

“Here’s your beer, hon.” She smiled. Not the kind of smile that demands a good tip. And she lingered. Pete wasn’t very handsome. He was rugged.

“Can I have a whiskey? Actually, a Manhattan. Not in a foo-foo glass either. I want it in a rocks glass. And I want the dirty rocks in another rocks glass, please.” Eric asked the bartender.

“You can, and will.” She said while looking at Pete. Pete hadn’t noticed.

“About the black cat? Are you lost in the story?” asked Pete.

“Nope. So, we walked through the cornfield, then the cemetery, and then to the bank of the river. The river wasn’t high. I thought it would be, but the storm didn’t bring it up hardly at all. We’re standing on the bank of the river and we’re taking in the view of the cliff face. For some reason I think of that damn black cat. I ask Erin, ‘wasn’t it odd to see that cat walk out of the corn?’ I had thought it was odd because of its age. It was a young cat. Not a kitten, but not much older than one. And the farm was a long way off.”

Eric watched the bartender make his drink. He was watching to see if she would spin the long spoon in the alcohol, or shake it in the shaker. If she shook it, the drink would be spoiled. If it was spoiled he’d need to order a second Manhattan or else he wouldn’t let himself be comfortable. And the dark oak bar wouldn’t be right.

“So that’s it. You saw a black cat while on a walk? What the hell.”

“No. It wasn’t that. It was Erin’s answer. She said, “What black cat. There wasn’t any black cat.”

“Why the hell would she say that? She just saw the cat with you. You said she nodded her head.”

“I don’t know. That’s why it’s the black cat syndrome to me. I’ve seen it everywhere since that moment. People have their eyes open and see about a third of what’s happening around them. Maybe less. I said to Erin, ‘you’re joking. You just saw the cat minutes ago. It crossed the road in front of us.’ But my flaw was that I was now talking with passion. Erin says, ‘why are you yelling at me. There was no cat. Who cares anyways? Why do you always have to be like this?’ and now Erin’s upset and we’re on a brink of an argument and I can’t let it go because there WAS a black cat. If there weren’t a black cat I wouldn’t be passionate and it’s not even about the damn cat. It’s about her having seen it without locking it away as fact. And now I’m passionately digging through her mind to uncover this for her and it never works. It just never works.”

The bartender placed his Manhattan on the oak bar. It looked exacting. The drink made the bar complete. He was afraid to taste it. “Why are you so fired up? You’re yelling.” she asked.

Eric realized he’d been talking passionately again. He wasn’t yelling, but that hardly mattered. “You’re right. I was remembering a time when someone wasn’t able to handle truth. And that pisses me off.”

Pete finally saw the bartender. “He’s not normal. He’ll talk to you but he’s here and somewhere else too. Don’t mind him.”

Eric nodded in agreement. He slowly lifted the rocks glass filled with Manhattan. He brought the drink to his nose, smelled the sweat aroma of the whiskey mixed with the vermouth, and tilted the glass. He wouldn’t need to order another. Unless he wanted to.

“You make a good drink. Pete, take out your cell phone. You’re going to have her number.”

The bartender dropped her smile.

Pete placed his cell on the bar. He’d known Eric his entire life. He’d even brought up the new contact screen.

She took Pete’s phone, entered her name, then number. She said nothing. She attempted a smile while placing the phone down on the bar. She looked at Eric with something resembling anger. Beneath that was truth and that was all that mattered.

 

****
The End.
Written on 5/29/17

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed it, feel free to share it.

Matt

 

Can I Be – Flash Fiction

Can I Be
Flash Fiction
Written by -M. Taggart

Can I Be

As seen in the nine years old boy’s diary before his death-

‘I didn’t know I was bad. I felt it once but I made it go away. Jan 14.

I found out I am not bad. I saw bad today. That is not me.  Jan 21.

I had a good day. My uncle took me to a movie. When I came home he told me he was sorry. Feb 6.

I think I’d like not to be here anymore.  Feb 22.

I did what I was told. I don’t know who else to tell. Feb 28.

Today was good. I was told I could go to school again. I want to go to school again. I want to learn and read books. March 3.

My covers aren’t enough.  March 4.’

The boy was found dead March 5. The boys diary contained notes and drawings.

(edited timeline error.)

Don’t Watch Her Cry

A Short Story
Written by -M. Taggart
Copyright 2017

Don’t Watch Her Cry

 

It hurt to watch her cry. She convulsed. Her head shook up and down. I wanted to put my arms around her. She was hating me. Maybe, though she needed it. It was my fault. I didn’t know my words damaged her this badly. Now though, I could see what each of them had done. Her hair was down and I couldn’t see her face. I only saw tears dropping near her feet.

Another me had raised my arms and put them around her shoulders. I fought the mind game I placed on myself. If she hates me, let her rot. Let her rot in Hell. My arms pulled her head to my chest. I could feel my heart beat. I hate my heart beating.

‘Don’t. It’s O.K. I Love you.’

She convulsed and my heart now hated me.

‘I don’t know. I don’t want this. Listen, I love you. You don’t believe me, but, I do. I don’t want what I said. I’m sorry.’

Her neck smelled so nice. Her tears too. My thoughts struggled.

She didn’t push away. I pulled her closer. Maybe it wasn’t over. ‘I just want to have you back.’ her throat full, ‘You use to be so amazing. You were, incredible.’ she had huffed the words through.

I was. I were. I am not. I am nothing. I hate myself. My heart can now stop completely.

My other self rubbed her back and told her I loved her and that it would be O.K.

She stood. Not ripping from me, but leaving me. ‘I don’t know how it can be again.’ tears streamed down her beautiful face, dripping from her chin. ‘But I think it will be.’

 

 

 

 

An Alive Blizzard – Short Story

An Alive Blizzard, A short story

Written by -M. Taggart
Fiction. Copyright 2017

 

It was snowing. The snow had started earlier than they said it would. I had asked my father about the storm and why it was different from other storms. Dad had said to mom that it might be a Blizzard. I didn’t know what Blizzard meant but I felt it. I felt it deep in my chest when Dad said it.

I saw from our window sill that already the snow covered the roads and sidewalks. Tree branches were beginning to become white. The birds were chirping loudly. I watched as they seemingly bounced from branch to branch. I wondered if they knew about the Blizzard.

Dad had told me it was going to be a Nor’ Easter. He said it was a true one. Not like the clippers that rush off the coastline quickly. He said a true Nor’ Easter doesn’t rush. It sits. It spins. He said it was even alive.

I looked out the window at the darkening woods. The sun wasn’t yet down, but the woods didn’t care. They were preparing to become pitch black. I didn’t want to be in the woods. Normally I’d be the first out the door and rushing to find an evergreen to climb under. Their branches were always soft and the bottom row would be connected to the ground. Snow would pin each branch and you could carve a hole through the snow and hide inside the bottom of the tree. If you did this without anyone seeing you, you could hide there all night and you wouldn’t be found. But not tonight. Not with the Blizzard being alive and the woods being alive and me right in the middle of both.

‘What are you doing, Nick?’ his father asked.

‘Watching snow.’

‘And what are you thinking?’

‘I’m thinking about snow forts under the evergreens.’

He wanted to ask his father about the Blizzard being alive. How he would know when it was alive, and what might happen.

‘What do you mean the storm will stop and spin?’ he asked his father.

‘A real Nor’Easter will crawl up the coast. It’ll aim at all of us in New England. Pressure from the north, Canada, will blow toward the system crawling up the coast. The real ones will stop and spin when the pressure from the north hits it. Instead of rushing out to sea, the storm system will press slightly north west. The pressure from the North sits it down, right over us, and it’ll spin like a Hurricane. The longer it sits and spins, the more snow we’ll get. And sometimes the two hit so hard it’s as if their fighting and the wind will drive and the snow will drift and before you know it you can’t see more than a few feet and it’s not safe to be outside. Because you’re in a real Nor’ Easter. A Blizzard.’

I set my eyes on the tallest of pine trees that I could see from the window. The top of the tree was moving, but only barely. The winds were not yet fighting. Maybe there would be no Blizzard tonight. But if it was alive, when does it decide to turn itself into a Blizzard?

‘Is this storm a Blizzard?’

‘It’s too early to tell. We can watch it on the radar and if we see it turn inland a bit, we can watch out the window, or go outside and listen to the wind. We’ll be able to hear it churning and getting stronger.’

My heart dropped. I did not want to go outside and listen for anything to churn. Many inches were already on the ground. And yes, now I see some wind pushing the top of the pine tree.

‘How can a storm be anything but a storm? It can’t be alive.’

My father rested his hands behind his head. He smirked, took a pull from his beer and said, ‘But it can. Did you know tornadoes suck dirt and grime and bacteria into its funnel cloud? And you know bacteria is alive. Bacteria clings to mud and dirt and particles so small we can’t see them. Think about it. Snow is developed high in the sky. First as droplets of moisture. But, it’s not yet snow. It’s to light to fall. It needs something heavier to help it drop. Something like dust. Dust just floating around hoping to hitch a ride back down to earth. The moisture clings to the dust and they both start to fall, together. Eventually turning into a snow flake. You tell me that dust doesn’t have bacteria and you tell me that a storm isn’t alive.’ His father took another small pull and smiled wide. ‘Don’t break yourself over this. It is just a storm. But every storm has a personality. You just watch.’

I held my questions. I needed to catch my thoughts and sit them down. I still didn’t understand what a Blizzard was, but now I knew what a Nor’ Easter is and thoughts of bashing winds, like that of a Hurricane, flicked through my mind. I had heard that a tornado sounded much like a train when approaching. Was that the voice of the tornado? If it was, what would the voice of a Nor’ Easter turned Blizzard sound like? Would it scream? Could it speak? What if I did go out into the woods tonight and let the Blizzard overtake me. Should I? I felt the wrinkles in my forehead pressing together. My face was a twisted and confused face. I didn’t even know if it would be a Blizzard, though somehow I felt it couldn’t be anything else.

An hour later everything changed. The wind was howling. Snow flew sideways and whipped by the window so quickly it was dizzying. My father had to go check on the roof of our garage and hadn’t come back yet. The woods were pitch black and no longer needed to prepare; rather I’m sure now the woods were completely alive and begging me to visit. Over a foot of snow had fallen and the storm was still new. I did everything to not listen for a voice in the howls, but it was too late. I told myself to not put my boots on. As I looked at my feet I saw my boots were laced. I asked myself to not put my coat, hat, or gloves on. I turned the door-nob with a gloved hand.

It was cold. Very cold and the wind was so thick and crisp it rushed into my lungs without permission. Wind pressed me so hard I was doubled over while walking. I didn’t need to see where I was going. I knew the wood line even in the darkest of nights. Instead of asking why, I simply kept going. It was too late to ask and to early to reflect. I knew only one thing. The storm was alive and I wanted to know it well.

 

**

Thank you for reading. If you’d like to read more of my writing, please consider my short story found via the link below.

https://mtaggartwriter.wordpress.com/my-book/

 

 

 

 

 

A Brutal Thought – Fiction, Short Story.

Fiction- A Brutal Thought
Written by -M. Taggart
copyright 2017

A Brutal Thought

‘Did you see that? He’s on the back deck. He leaned over the railing and puked blood. It was all over his t-shirt too.’ Mona said. ‘I’m serious.’

They drove further and she no longer could see the man standing on the deck. ‘Should we go back? Or call someone?’

‘Call who? He did it to himself. All that booze he drinks.’ Eric said.

‘Even if he is a drunk he might be a good person.’ Mona said.

‘All he does is sit inside. Each day. He does nothing. I don’t know what kind of man does that. Rachel says he stands in front of his windows early in the morning, naked with the lights on, hoping someone sees him. Fuck that guy. I hope he pukes blood. I hope he kills himself.’ Eric said.

**

Pete leaned away from the window. He could hear a car coming. He lived on a dead end street. He was working with his shirt off. He was writing a marketing campaign and he’d just finished the first draft. He liked to work near the window. When his eyes became irritated from the screen he’d look from the screen to the woods and back again. Making his pupils adjust. Then he’d blink rapidly.

A neighbor once drove by and looked into the window of his office just as he stood from his desk. It was 5 am and dark outside. His office light had been on. Just as he stood, his neighbor, Rachel, drove by his office window. He wore only briefs. On that morning he couldn’t sleep. He’d been up late testing a new product and wanted to finish the process.

The car passing by was Joe. Joe wouldn’t care if his shirt was on or off. Joe knew he worked his ass off. Joe had once asked what he did for employment. He liked when someone asked. He felt to assume was a human condition making the race less intelligent on a daily schedule. When Joe had asked, he’d taken his phone out of his pocket and showed him exactly what he did. ‘You think of that shit?’ asked Joe. ‘Yup. I do.’ Joe drove through and gave a quick honk. He could see Joe’s hand waving over the roof of his car.

It was late afternoon. There was a breeze that moved the leaves around nicely and there were huge puffy clouds to look at. He wanted to be outside. He wanted to celebrate his new client and to cheers the afternoon sun. Every day he promised himself to find something to celebrate. A new idea, a good conversation, a line from Hemingway that shredded his being to the core; or for being alive and watching a cloud formation float overhead knowing it’d never been seen before and will never be seen again. He tossed a white t-shirt on and walked to the kitchen to begin his transition from work, to life on the deck with a beer and a book.

The beer was very dark. It was nearly thick. It was a strong porter. He poured the porter quickly into a frosted mug that had been in the freezer. The head was an inch thick. Watching the foam shrink and lower he poured the remaining beer from the bottle to his mug. The deck and the sun begged him to join them. Though of course wood and sunshine can’t speak, not normally. But they do, in fact, they do. Especially if you’re able to listen, he thought.

He pulled the sliding glass door open and stepped onto the deck. The beer sloshed and foamed up. He had tripped slightly and now wore a bit of beer on his t-shirt. ‘Adds to the moment’, he thought. He took a pull of beer, which was mostly foam, and leaned over the deck railing to spit it out. He noticed Eric and Mona’s vehicle passing by. Mona’s eyes flashed in his direction. He wanted to wave, but they were gone too quickly. He hoped they’d had a nice day.

**

Interested in reading another?

A Mother Does Shine

via Daily Prompt: Shine

Winter blew in. You could feel it with your tongue if you wanted. Old October trees looked desolate.

The wood stove cracked. Have you heard the small mouth speak?

Snow began to fall. A pregnant thought came to me. Was I the one to speak it? My mother was ragged. Her mouth was grim. She was an angry women. Her fingers were cracked and crooked.

It was our fault. All of ours. We pushed her. Her dry knuckles bleed. We didn’t ask if she needed help. We watched her push and bleed. Her tongue flicked as she watched us leave the house and we’d run as soon as we hit the last step.

-M. Taggart

 

 

Daily Prompt: Fishing Up North

via Daily Prompt: Fishing

There was a constant wind blowing from the south. The wind drove itself into the mountain range on the opposite side of the lake. He had taken the canoe to the farthest southern corner of the lake. There, the canopy of evergreens block the wind. The water was smooth.

The lake was nice and cool. The native trout were active. He watched them rise, leaving small rings. There was only the sound of the wind reaching, and swiveling away from the soft branches of the evergreens.

Raising his arm, the fly line became active and arched beautifully through the air. He’d seen a riser just ten yards in front of the canoe. He landed the fly just inside the outer portion of the ring.

Immediately his line became taught, his rod bent in half. He could feel every movement the large trout made. It fought severely. The fly snapped back into the air, and flew toward the canoe. The fish was gone.

He could still feel the vibrant activity in his hands, arms, and mostly his mind. He lay the rod down, letting the fly line drift on the water. He wanted to remember the feeling of the strike. And he wanted to remember the feeling of his failure. He reached into the inner pocket of his wool coat and found the half-smoked cigar.

He liked that a cigar lit hard after having been smoked and let to die out. He needed to cover the cigar from the wind and point it down to warm it sufficiently before trying to smoke it. If the smoke from the cigar didn’t travel fully through, he’d need to start over. After the third try his thumb would be slightly burned. If the wind was too heavy the cigar couldn’t be lit. He’d be left with a smoldering cigar and burned thumb. But, if the cigar was lit, he would enjoy the feeling of the smoke. He’d watch the swirls leave his mouth and range wildly around his face. No one arrangement of smoke was the same. Thinking about this made him ache with warmth.

-M. Taggart

(photo taken by me while fishing.)