We had one argument, and that’s all. Cigarettes. Me telling you they stink, saying, please brush your teeth so I can kiss you. Making you change your shirt. Me saying, isn’t your life worth something to you? You, relaxed, kind, unmoved, infuriating. Me asking, do you not care about your life? You saying, sure, yes, that’s why I want to enjoy it, and I enjoy smoking. Come here. I love you.

So I left.

A year later, I married him, a nonsmoker who ate only organic. A year after that, you showed up to his funeral and hugged me tight.



Amy L. Bethke’s fiction has appeared in Literary Mama, MnLIT, and Murphy Square. She lives in Maple Grove, Minnesota, with her family.

Photo Credit: Gordon Ednie

11 Responses to “Cigarettes”

  1. Isabel says:

    Hello! I loved the short story. Can I ask your permission to make a short-movie (8 min)? We are not professional… we are amateurs actors, but we would like to participate in a nacional contest with this story, with the credits, ir course. Thank you.


  2. Ryan Stone says:

    Excellent, Amy! Razor sharp.

  3. Sharon Guthrie says:

    Amy – what a wonderful piece!!! Although fiction, I’m sure true I’m so many instances.


  4. Alex Zhang says:

    I can’t help but show my due respect to you for the fantastic story with such a twist ending, of course, as a smoker!

  5. Patrick Cabello Hansel says:


  6. Jennifer Brenden says:

    Great piece!

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