Listening

He listened to her. She kept talking and talking about the end of the world coming and he listened to her. She would talk in sentence fragments, no complete thoughts, just rambling. On and on she went about the apocalyptic horsemen and how when the U.S. goes so goes the world.

They sat at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee poured for her and iced tea was in front of him. The windows were open and cicadas were singing. She lit a cigarette and laughed. You think I’m crazy don’t ya?, she smiled as she drew in smoke through the side of her mouth. You wonder if it’s just tobacco I’m smoking?, the old grey haired woman dug a pop can out of the trash to use as an ashtray. Does my smoking bother you?, the old man shook his head.

My wife when she was alive smoked. I’d try to get her to stop. In the end it’s what killed her, he took a drink of tea.

You sure of that? That’s what people tell me. My son and daughter tell me it’ll kill me. But, I don’t pay no attention. Isn’t that awful that I don’t pay them no mind? When they’re daddy was alive they never talked to him that way. Hell, nobody did. He was a very proud man. Bit of a snob. I’d start talking to him ’bout the apocalypse and he’d just sit there and tell me I was crazy. He was a non-believer. I know he’s in purgatory right now waitin’ to get things right with God. Now whose laughin’?, she dropped the cigarette into the open part of the can. NO, he was a man of science. See how far that science will get ya. He should’ve listened to me, she smiled. Should’ve listened.

The old man took another swig of tea and wished his lady friend good evening.

Do I annoy you?, she asked as he grabbed his jacket.

No. I just like listening.

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