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My Fathers Cigar


My Father’s Cigar—Linda Smells Smoke

My Father’s Cigar — Linda Smells Smoke

I smelled my father’s cigar in the car today, even though he died three years before I bought it. And none of my friends smoke anymore, so there was no confusing the odor.

This day is nothing special. No birthday or anniversary that I am aware of. Just a bright day, the first day of summer. Work is slow and I am running errands in our newly adopted city, listening to a CD of 30-year-old music, singing along: here comes the sun, and here comes the sweet but acrid smell of my father’s cigar. A memory at once welcome and not, a memory itself sweet and acrid. 

Last night I had a dream about him. Or about his cufflinks, at any rate. I ran across them in a pawn shop. Saw them in the case for $49.99, with a note on them in his hand that said, Frankie’s.” They were my favorite ones, the little agate ones, like a smooth marble, half maroon, half pearly grey, in a gold-tone setting. I remember being a little girl, carefully lifting them out of his jewelry case, spinning them around and around. I wanted to buy them back for him in the dream. I told the saleswoman that they were my father’s and she sold them to me for $9.99. When I woke up, I remembered that he was dead.

Today, I smell his cigar. 

I drive along on my weekday errand run, air conditioner on, the oldies station blasting one of my favorites, Spirit in the Sky.” I could get used to this: the sun, the open road, my father’s presence in a new place. I will find those cufflinks when I get home. I will find the right kind of shirt and I will wear them someday soon to something special.