Sunday, September 18, 2011

Secondhand Smoke

A quote from ``A Gate at the Stairs'' by Lorrie Moore.

As soon as I saw them in the lobby, I realized my mistake. They were looking at their watches, holding hands, then looking at their watches again. Their glance up at me was quick, perfunctory, and when I got into the car and sat in the back like their sullen teenage daughter I could see that this was not an outing I should be on. Edward started to light up a cigarette, and Sarah swatted it away.
``Afraid of secondhand smoke? There's conflicting science on that,'' he said.
Sarah gave him a look but said nothing. From my awkward place in the backseat I remembered a headline from the student paper. ``You know what they say about secondhand smoke,'' I said. I was a girl still finding her jokey party voice and borrowing from others'.
``What?'' said Sarah.
``Leads to secondhand coolness.''
Edward turned in his seat to look at me. I had pleased him with this stupidity, and he was getting a better look at me to see who I was today.
``Did you have a good breakfast?'' he said.
``I did,'' I lied.
``Sometimes that's all it takes,'' he said, turning back around, and I studied his hair-cape some more, its weird, warm flip. ---p.100, A Gate at the Stairs

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