Taking the Highway
Lata put away the dinner things and looked over to Tumul, her husband of three decades. As usual, he was blowing smoke rings.
“Why do you insist on smoking?” Lata burst out. “The doctor…”
“I’m not smoking dammit! Can’t you see I am practicing for the smoke rings competition?” He coughed. “This year I will beat that insufferable Ghosh…”
“But at what cost?”
“Death is inevitable.” He lit another cigarette. “May as well do something great before then.”
“Why choose something so destructive? Why not do some charity…?”
“Reserve the lecture for your students.” He snapped. “Go away and leave me alone!”
A smoky heart floated across to her.
“As you wish.” She dragged out a packed suitcase.
He blew another ring that slipped down over her head to encircle her throat.
“I’m sorry Tumul,” her voice cracked, “But I cannot sit and watch you kill yourself…”
“Don’t be a fool Lata.” He rasped. “I’ll stop once I win…”
“What if you don’t win? What if you fail?”
“Real failure is not in failing but in not trying.” He intoned.
“It is also failure not to know when to stop trying.” She swallowed. “I’m done being a failure.”
Written for the Sunday Photo Fiction – a story in 200 words or less. Thanks to Alistair Forbes for hosting the challenge and John Robinson for the photo prompt. To read the other stories inspired by this prompt, click here.
Thanks for reading 🙂