It was 12:30 a.m. and I was leaving the hospital. I stopped at the light, and was about to turn right on red because traffic was clear. I saw a young guy - vaguely realized that he had approached the car in front of me that made it through before the light turned red but really, I was too tired to give it any thought. As I started to roll forward to begin my turn I looked to the side and there he was, about 5 yards from my car and when we made eye contact he came towards me. I wasn't afraid although I suppose I should have been. The kid was skinny as all get out, and seemed a bit frantic and odd to me. I rolled down my window and he called out as he came closer "do you have a lighter I can see?" Then I saw the cigarette in his hand. Unlit cigarette.
He saw me push in my car cigarette lighter, something I haven't done in years and I saw relief flood his face. He told me he was leaving the hospital, he lived up the road in the opposite direction I was going. Said "I must have waved down 30 cars, no one would give me a light!" I held out the lighter and he leaned closer, cupped his hands around the lighter and lit his cigarette. "Thanks, I mean, I swear - must have been like 30 cars! God bless you!" And he turned and walked away.
As I drove away I was oddly pleased that I had chosen to trust somebody and hadn't had to pay for that choice in a bad way. Okay, I WAS/AM sleep deprived and I suspect my judgment was a tad "off". (ya think??) And then I realized - I have been spending my time and emotional energy at the hospital since before noon yesterday, watching my mother struggle and fight for every breath because she smoked for 50 years. And I was lighting a young guy's cigarette right outside that same hospital.
It's amazing that I can still have that disconnect between the act and the consequences given what I have witnessed with my mom. Seriously?? I totally enjoyed it when I did it. But I am incredibly grateful to have been able to stop.