Tell me when you smoke.

I used to hate smokers. Until last week, I still did.

Yesterday I travelled with my parents and some relatives to attend a wedding in Dong Nai.  We had a new companion this time, Mr.Minh who was our driver. I don’t know his age but from his half ‘thanh nien’, half ‘dan ong’ look, I guessed he was in his mid-thirty. He is a quite tall, well-built, bespectacled businessman with an honest smile and a really warm voice. I swear next time in a crowd, I could recognise him instantly just by hearing him. Anyway, I (almost) always have good impression towards those whose name is Minh. For no particular reason.

I was glad that he, instead of uncle Tham, drove our car. Too confident with his driving skills , Mr.Tham constantly sent the whole group into hear-throbbing moments with his sudden steering and braking. My grandma was half laughing and half yelling “Thẫm, mày muốn chết cả đám à!”. Mr Minh was the opposite. He remained composed all the time. His hands were steady. Even when the whole car burst into laughter when we joked about something, his cheekbones slightly raised and that was it.

[A little off already. I am getting back to the topic kaka]

I noticed that he smoked a lot. Whenever we stopped for a break during our journey, he would go outside and light up a cigarette. He looked really calm I almost felt peaceful when I saw him smoking. Is it weird? Normally I would not tolerate any smokers. This time I was actually fine with it. More than that I was curious. I even wanted to ask him why he smoked.

I always had the impression that any smokers are just brags. They wanted to show-off their smoking skills and their maturity, perhaps? However, when I saw this man smoking, something else dawn on me. Maybe they did not smoke because smoking was hip. Maybe they did because it was their way to escape. From their unspeakable thoughts. From their weariness. They could not go and whine to their family or friends like women usually do ( not always).  They conceal their worries behind their act-cool appearance and exhale them out after each puff.  I remember having caught Tuan smoking in McNair and I squarely asked him why he did such bad thing to himself and to others. Maybe now I have understood part of it

Next time, I will not yell, will not scowl when I see my papa (and all the guys that matter to me) smoking. I will put my arms around him and whisper into his ears “Is everything alright dear? Please tell me”.

Anyway, I still do not approve smoking at all. It only looks sexy in photographs!

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