Quitting Smoking

“Now if you can’t quit smoking just consider the lung problems, emphysema and heart disease. Let’s just say that there are a lot more examples, but I’d rather stop here.”

The two aged men, still holding their cigarettes, stood up and walked with a swagger toward the front of the hall. No-one could guess what they were going to do. To every body’s surprise, they came up to Ms. Ayele and hugged her in turns. They acknowledged they were a bit uncomfortable with her speech, but later on felt they had to accept her comments with grace and style. They both put off their cigarettes in front of the audience, thanked Ms. Ayele, and promised her that they will henceforth take a good care of themselves and pay more attention to their children. They recounted how they’ve been drained economically due to their bad smoking habits. The joints of these two old men creaked as they walked away.

To me, it was like someone calmly smoking next to a wrecked fuel tank—ignoring the dangers involved—as Ms. Ayele fearlessly claims that she’d been in the drug business with some powerful politicians of the day. She lent a visage of a doleful charm in the course of her speech. She also added a slight comic quality to the romantic image of a fearless woman. While others, including myself, greatly admired her, some others considered her a poseuse. I only prayed she didn’t get killed for daring to link drugs and politics—those two strange bedfellows. I later on learned that among the audience were men who were at the right hand side of power.

To be continued…