There I was again, sitting on the stoop outside my apartment building in Covington, Kentucky. I hadn’t slept all that well the night before, so I was a bit of a grump, a crab—whatever you want to call it on that morning four days ago. I was smoking a cigarette.
“Hey!” I heard somebody say. I looked to my left. Seeing Kris didn’t make me feel better.
As he started walking towards me, I knew immediately what he was going to say. When it comes to smoking, I guess I can never let my guard down.
“Hey!” he repeated. “You’re smoking again!”
“Just every once in a while,” I said.
“You told me you quit.”
“I’m still trying to,” I replied.
“You wanta know why you ain’t seen me?”
“No, not really,” I said.
“Broke my probation,” Kris said, ignoring the fact that I just told him I wasn’t interested. “I’ve been out for a couple days now.”
“That’s nice,” I replied.
“I couldn’t smoke when I was locked up,” he said. “It was hard man, really hard.”
“I’m sure it was,” I said.
“Hey, you got an extra. . .”
“We’re not getting into that anymore.”
“No,” I said. “Go buy your own. I’m not supporting your habit anymore.”
“What’s wrong with you, man?”
“Nothing,” I said, getting up from the stoop and putting my cigarette out on the sidewalk. “You’re a broken record on this subject. Basically, you’re a pain in the ass.”
Kris just looked at me when I turned and went back inside my apartment building. When I got back inside my apartment, I sat down at my writing desk and thought about Kris for maybe two minutes.
I’m kind of interested why he broke his probation and what the original charge was but I’m not opening that can of worms and that’s exactly what it would be with Kris. As far as no longer giving him cigarettes—flat out telling him that this little gift to him was now over—was a relief. I no longer had to lie.
From that point on, my morning got better. I no longer was a grump or a crab. I no longer than to worry about letting my guard down in front of Kris.
You know, it’s true. The truth shall set you free.
(Image from gifbin.com)