But a blank page is similar to another one, after all. The only thing to do is filling it with some scrawling writing and waiting to see what happens. Those are his thoughts as he lights a cigarette to soothe a little bit the cold dwelling the night in the small patio of the local, where are relegated those who want to have a coffee, but feel that fatidic impulse of lighting a cigarette, fill their lungs with smoke and let it out to taste the mighty merger between caffeine and nicotine, in a world where the asepsis and depuration have become the law. What would be of a blank sheet without a good coffee and a cigarette transgressing its spotless purity?
Hard to know it nonetheless, especially because he doesn’t smoke nor drink coffee. However, his thoughts are fascinated and absorbed by the idea. Maybe just for subversion or mere literary romanticism: that cliche about the mid twenty century cursed author. Who knows. The fact is that, when it comes to sit down to drink or eat something, he chooses open spaces. He prefers the smoke hovering around, outdoors, than to breathe in the steady and murmuring steam of a cozy crowd among four walls.
If it was not for the unfortunate cold of the night he would be confortable. Those spaces of tobacco relegation were becoming more and more uninhabited. The persistent smokers in restaurants and cafes were giving up day after day, most in winters. You could sit there, almost alone, a few tables away from some smoker couple, without be reached even by the lightest reminiscence of tobacco scent.
What then? What was all about? About the blank page, of course. Filling the blank page. Not matter how, not matter when, or what it takes, filling it before its spotless whiteness blinds until the most secluded space and stays there forever. A soul blindness, as impossible to be cracked as deep ravines of ice where never comes the most distant light or fire.
― Do you have a light?
Startled, he looks up the man standing beside him. He has an unlit cigarette in his hand. With an automatic gesture, learnt more as mere observer than as his proper owner, he searches the pockets of his jacket and trousers. Until he suddenly remembers and stops. No. He has not.
The man thanks him with another gesture and goes back to the table where his partner waits for him. He said something to her and she gets up. They go out to the indoor. He knows. They are not coming back. The only thing they leave behind is the slight smell of nicotine when they passed by his side.
This is it. The loneliness is complete now. He sits and leans against the back of the chair. His hands shaking a bit, and he feels that sensation of abstinence syndrome, or something that he thinks similar. He tilts his head back, towards the starry night, and closes his eyes. His nostrils distend, greedy. It is still there, a limpid thread of nicotine, thinning hopelessly, sinking into the heart of the absolute oblivion.
When he opens his eyes the stars have blurred, and soft lines of fire are going down over his face, and he feels, and he thinks, and the blank page fills once more, at least for now.