Cheap Cigars by D.I. Jolly

The book read.

The four most common active atoms in both the universe and humans, are; Oxygen, Carbon, Nitrogen and Hydrogen. Not in that order. Which makes us no more special than anything else in the entire universe, and yet, we are perfectly part of the infinite of everything. We are part of the universe, beautiful and infinite, simple and small, all at the same time. We are meaningless, and we are everything. 

Jacob stepped out onto his small balcony, lit a cigar and said.

“I think today is the day, today is the day I’m going to kill myself.”

It wasn’t the first time he’d thought about suicide, but it was the first time it had ever rung so true that after he finished his sentence, he was stagger. It had only ever been an idle thought; it had only ever been a fantasy escape.

If all else fails I could always just kill myself’.

An outlandish extreme that brought everything else into perspective, because of how ridiculous it was. It had always been just that. But not anymore. Now it was true. For the very first time it was true.

He took a long pull on his cigar and let the thick strong taste fill his lungs. He looked up at the moon. It had been waxing for a few days and was almost at his favourite point. Which felt strangely appropriate. If it was perfect, it would be wrong. Because everything else was wrong, and if there was a single detail that was right, then what he was about to do wouldn’t make sense. So being wrong was perfect, and imperfect, and perfect, all at the same time.

The thought rushed through him and he felt alive and excited and couldn’t help but let out a short tearful laugh. It made sense, in so much as anything else in his life made sense. Which was another way of saying that it really didn’t. But that didn’t matter because that too was imperfectly perfect.

He took another long pull on his cigar and let his life play out in front of him like a movie, projected on the sky. Flashing before his eyes in fast forward, except for key moments that brought him joy and pain. Ecstasy and sorrow.

Beckie Lawrence’s party where he lost his virginity and thought he was in love, Frank Newberry’s funeral where he thought nothing could ever be good ever again. His dog Maggie, his grandmother, that time he found 20 bucks on the street when he was five. His daughter’s first birthday. His divorce. The car accident. The things he did while blacked out. That time he broke his girlfriend’s nose. Falling drunkenly into a pool at the office Christmas party and hoped no one would save him. Rebecca from Accounting giving him CPR for an hour while crying. His least favourite movie. The look on the cashier’s face when he put down a bottle of vodka and three cheap cigars. His mother’s perfume.

It was all there, and for better or worse, whether he liked it or not. That was his life story.

On his third long pull he wondered about how people would think about the ending of the story. How he would feel if it was a book he was reading or a movie he had watched. Was it a satisfying conclusion? Was it what the audience wanted? Did it matter?

The truth was, no, it didn’t. Or at least, not to him. It was the ending that made sense. The one that felt right, real and true.

For a moment he thought about turning around, not to go back inside, but just to look at his life one more time. But his head wouldn’t turn. It didn’t matter. Still, tears filled his eyes as he climbed up onto the railing. Smoke drifted from his nose, and he felt all thought leave his head. He suddenly remembered what it felt like to fall asleep, and he had to laugh as he began to really cry.

Then he spat out his cigar and jumped.

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