Wow, I'm really late to the party, but here is my creation. Don't count on it to brighten your Friday though. It's as dark as dark chocolate. Hope you enjoy nonetheless.
"It's actually the Milky Way", said John. He put his left arm behind his head as we laid on the blanket I stole from my grandma's living room a couple of hours ago and pointed to the sky, his index finger making a little wave in the air as he tried to pinpoint the exact location of the Milky Way to me. "Do you see it now? God, how can you not know where the Milky Way is?", he nudged me in the ribs lightly and laughed. "I'm glad you're amused, but I just don't really spend much time looking at the sky, you know", I said while trying to find the pack of cigarettes I bought on the way over in my backpack. "What do you mean? Aren't you curious to know what's there? Up above? On another planet? All the stars that have been dead for millions of years? I thought girls live for thing like that - seeing a falling star or whatever", he looked at me raising an eyebrow trying to hold his laughter. "Do you even know me, John? We've been friends since we were five. Do you really believe I sit around waiting for some stars to start falling from the sky?", I rolled my eyes at him, "I'm more consumed by the depths of my bag and the magical powers it has - like swallowing all my belongings so I could never find anything inside, this is ridiculous" , I sighed as John already had a cigarette prepared for me. "You're a life saver", I said thankfully while putting it between my lips. "These things kill you, so I more or less classify as a slow murderer", he smirked and I couldn't help but laugh at this. "Didn't your grandpa die of lung cancer, Jess?, he looked at me, there was no sign of his previous bubbly persona. I frowned and looked down at my feet, "Hey, maybe I don't wish upon falling stars like other girls but I still have feelings... Why would you bring that up?", he put his hand on my knee and I could feel his soft gaze on me but didn't want to meet his eyes. I knew he cared and just wanted to look out for me and protect me. "Is this going to be one of your lectures, John? How I'm wasting my life away, the best years of it, the only time I'm going to be in my 20's and thriving? That I'm young now and I only live once and how I have to set goals for myself and achieve greatness and leave something behind? Because honestly you've already ruined the mood after bringing my dead grandfather into the conversation. So I smoke just like he smoked so that means I'll probably die of lung cancer. I also drink just like my alcoholic father, does that make me an addict too? Listen to me, now I'm yelling so maybe I inherited all of my mother's neurosis although I hopelessly tried to be better than that. Maybe if I was like some other family member I would've stayed silent and said nothing and nodded my head at you and put my head down because I was too scared to speak up. But I want to be myself for once and to answer your question - yes, my grandpa died of lung cancer. He smoked for over fifty years and he was my favorite person in this whole shit hole of a world. I looked up to him, I wanted to be around him and listen to his stories all the time, I wanted to be him. And yes, maybe I spent an entire summer of my childhood sitting in the garden with him every day while the sun was setting, trying to imitate his gestures while holding a pen like a cigarette. Maybe that's exactly what I'm doing now. I carry a pack with me all the time so when I feel like crying I could light one up and tell people it's because of the smoke. "Damn this smoke, man, it always gets in my eyes", and they would nod understandingly and look away. I light one up every time I feel alone in a room so I could maybe feel closer to him somehow. Maybe it sounds messed up but it's true. I light one up every time I want to feel like a badass because that's who he was. I want nothing else than to sit on a bench in our backyard, just me and grandpa, watching how the sun sets in all its glory and magnificent colors, kind of the same but always different every day. I want the smell of grass and fresh summer air, just how I remember it from when I was six and thought that everyone's going to live forever and bad things wouldn't happen to the people I love. I want to sit there in silence, with our cigarettes (mine is real for the first time), breathing in the smoke and everything else in sight - the sky, the house, the little dot in the sky which is probably an airplane, the Milky Way, everything. You can take on the world with a little bit of smoke. I want to inhale it, feel it filling up my lungs, making the world spin a couple of times in Technicolor and then exhale and let it go up in a graceful, almost transparent spiral and evaporate. This is how I want my life to end - with grandpa and his cigarettes, smoking endlessly on the bench of our back yard, watching a sunset after another in silence and smoke. Because aren't we all doomed to end up in dust? This is what's left of us in the end - not a body to touch, nor a warm hand to hold. Nothing to grasp, nothing to hold onto. Just dust. And if you're lucky - it'll only be smoke. Maybe you'll evaporate, maybe you'll touch the very edge of the sky, where things go from baby blue to nothing... I often talk to John. He's just one of the voices in my head I try to calm down and make silent. He will be saying funny things until he asks the inevitable question or brings back a memory. It's hard to deal with him sometimes because he's just so talented, exceptional with impressions, this John. He can turn himself into the people I miss the most which makes the inner monologue unbearable. He talks to me every time I put an extra set of silverware on the table, every time I pour a second cup of tea when I'm alone, every time I light a cigarette. It's not the Milky Way but what's inside it - a black hole where time finally stops and you're able to sit there with your loved ones in silence and finally be able to share a cigarette. Everything else is just smoke.