A Woman's Only Friend

Written by: Rhonda Johnson-Saunders


Middle-aged woman puffs a cigarette right outside the grocery store entrance. Her dark eyes fall from mine while beads of sweat trench above furrowed brow. “Spare a few cents?” she asks under her breath. My muscles tense. Annoyed, I shake my head; no words are spoken. I toss a coin in her pail. Still smoking, She gestures with a nod. The hazy air hangs, weighted with her stench. As stone eyes glare, my son begins to cough nearly choking. Hard days have come to my family; life has knocked us down. Humiliated, I beg to survive, you see; even through strife, we had love but no home. So forgive my intrusion today as you hurry by. It’s a nasty habit. You don’t approve. My kids are gone; last week, the state removed them. Now, this smoke seems like my only friend. God took my spouse last year. I can’t pretend life’s good. Forgive me. I, too, disapprove. By Rhonda Johnson-Saunders, July 27, 2012 for You Don't Understand Contest (Cyndi MacMillan)