It was on a cold December night he left to buy himself some cigarettes. The cigarette shops of the state were still open. It felt like a long time ago you could easily throw some coins in a machine and pull out your favorite brand. That time was a good time. Letting the dog out, smoking a cigarette, and having a chat with the other dog owners.
As the machines were removed the supermarkets started selling them and by now they were no longer allowed to do so. The state controlled everyone. Each smoker, each drinker, and each fast food and candy consumer. An ID was needed if you went out and they registered whatever you bought, how much you consumed and smoked. How much did he smoke? It was enough to be dead and buried by now at least five times. The government said smokers didn't become old but he did. One hundred and four years old meant he was a smoker for ninety-three years. "Ninety-three," he mumbled, "ninety-three years of being a heavy smoker," and he hadn't needed a doctor one single time in his life.
All those years he paid for his health insurance. Wasted money it was. Money wnever used for his benefit and if he needed medical care he knew no doctor would help him, and no hospital bed was vacant for him. The state, didn't care about the elderly, health care was no priority and that was exactly the reason he shuffled out to buy cigarettes. To get them without an ID because they, the girl in the shop, knew him and his fingerprint was enough.
In silence, she handed over the package of cigarettes. She knew his brand, he knew the price, and everything that could be declared was said a long time ago. It wasn't her job to tell him smoking was dangerous and lessened his life. His organs were fine and impotent was no issue.
He thought of his once beloved wife. She had lived a healthy life. Vegetables, power stuff, daily sport, and yoga. No smoking, drinking, partying, coffee, black tea, and fast food. What had it brought her? A short life filled with pain, bitterness, and at least four different types of cancer.
"Don't go away," she had shouted but he couldn't bear her, her sickness any longer and it was exactly what he had done. The death and the sorrows weren't something he liked to be confronted with. She had screamed she wished she had lived her life, enjoyed it instead of always taking care, do as told. It was life she wanted but in the end, she was glad she could leave. Going away... it was what he had done his entire life and the reason why he was still around. You need to know when it's time to leave if life is dear to you.
"It's not about the food, not smoking but about avoiding stress," he said and closed the door behind him.