The second side

He was peacefully sitting at the local coffee shop and admiring the beauty around him as he took a puff from his cigarette. He sent the smoke into the air and watched it float into oblivion. The noises around him did not bother him, nor did the discomfort of the people who seemed to mind their own business. The dog at the opposite end of the road was staring intently into his eyes as he took another puff and merely ignored it too. A soft voice behind him echoed as he heard, ” why do you do this?” 

He thought it was just another statement until he heard it again, ” I’m talking to you, smoker fella, why do you do it?” 

Nope, he thought, it was definitely for him. He turned around and saw a beautiful girl staring at him with her deep blue eyes. 

“It’s just something I do. Why do you bother?”, he said, instantly recognising the hollowness of his words.

“Never mind. Can I have your phone, please?” , she said as if her previous question was long gone. 

He hesitated for a bit, but then took out his phone and passed it to her, but not before putting in his password. He had nothing to hide. She searched through the photo gallery as if it was her phone and found the pic of an elderly couple in their fifties smiling down at the camera. “Are these your parents?” , she asked as she showed him the photo. Still fascinated by the informality, the boy managed to utter, “y-yes. Why?” 

“Next time you smoke, just think about the pain they must feel if they knew about your habit.”, she said in a bossy tone as if she had made someone learn the lesson of his life.

He smiled at the naiveness of the girl and without another word put the phone back in his pocket. She was about to leave as she heard a deepened voice call out, ” I smoke for them.” 

She was stunned for a few seconds and the next line came out almost instantaneously, “They are the reason I am here in this world. I love them very much. But every time I think about the future where they won’t be around any longer, I can feel an ache in my heart which is more than any stroke can ever cause. I know I am weak, but they have made me stronger. I just smoke so that some day I won’t have to bear the pain of them leaving me before I do. And so I do what I have to do. I know I’m selfish, but that’s how God made me and I respect his decision.” 

She had tears in her eyes, for this was not at all what she had expected. Her heart told her to go on with the conversation, but her mind was not ready for that. She payed the bill and stormed out with tears gushing and said, ” I hope they forgive you.” 
Disclaimer : smokers do not understand the harm of a cigarette until its too late. But the ones judging them are the ones who instigate them to pursue. All they need is a little emotional support to quit, and you can discover a gem inside. Like any other, this story too has a second side. It’s time we all recognise that.

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