'Cigarettes and Whiskey' by Sarah Dayan

Cynthia Wilson lit tea candles around her living room. The rough edges of the lighter struck her thumb with force, but she was hardly attuned to the pain. With a series of flicks, small wicks came to life and burned through the darkness. The stillness in the apartment was almost paralyzing. Cynthia had just enough energy left to breathe a sigh of heaviness. Jonathan wouldn’t be home for another few hours. He hated the smell of candles.

Cynthia sank down into the couch that smelled of last night’s whiskey and sorrow. With a glass of cabernet and a tired hand, she took a sip and hoped it would help. The newly opened bottle sat atop the coffee table, next to the lighter and an ash tray overflowing with butts. Smoke was woven through the fabric of the couch, it hung on the drywalls and coated the surface of the television, but Cynthia had never been a smoker.

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