He forgot the pilot blew out.
Kicking the habit proved more difficult than he anticipated, and at the stuffy party his parents had put on, he thought the basement to be his escape. An escape in his own home.
He plucked out the slender white tube from the inner lining of his jacket and twisted it in his fingers. Cold air and chemicals didn’t help his bronchitis, but it was a relief in his mind. Anything was a relief.
He forgot the pilot blew out during the sore weather earlier this night, along with hailstones and busting winds. He was about to light it back up with his long match when his solitude was disturbed by his forced party wagon and guests. He hadn’t gotten a chance to turn the knob back off.
His mother was fussing over the candles, calling for him to come up so they could sing to him. The lighter clicked in his father’s clumsy fingers. Anytime now the sparks would finally catch. It was a wonder no one noticed the smell.
He lit the slender tube up, drawing the smoke into his weary lungs, one final breath.