Smoking Debater

The rain fell steadily. Clustered together, Sally and her friends waited for the métro to open. Someone lit up a cigarette, gesticulating madly as he debated politics with another drunken stranger. 

Sally had known these people for exactly three weeks. She wasn't sure what to make of them, but for now, she considered them friends. Standing there, she realized she didn't really know them at all. 

She asked for a cigarette, even though she didn't smoke. She just wanted something to hold while waiting. She faded quietly into the background, leaning her head against a lampost. Sally wanted to sleep. It was five in the morning, she had class the next day. Why was she out in the streets when all she wanted was to be back in her bed? She often asked herself such questions. 

"Are you asleep?" asked the smoking debater. 

"No," she murmured. 

"It's not much longer now." He looked at his imaginary watch. "'Bout fifteen minutes or so." 

"OK." She hugged herself against the cold. 

"Bonsoir!" called another drunk voice. "Ou bien, bon matin." 

The girls in the group huddled together defensively. The only boy in the group was the Smoking Debater, and they'd already been harassed that night. 

"Oh, Americans? I speak American!" The drunk man smiled. His friend pulled him away. 

"They don't want to speak with us. Let's go." His friend told him gruffly. 

"Aw, sure they do!" 

The man's friend smiled apologetically and pulled him down the street in the opposite direction. 

Sally glanced in their direction, taking a moment to collect her thoughts. She stamped out her cigarette, only half smoked. 

Smoking Debater stared after the men, as well. He shrugged his shoulders and started a new argument. 

The End

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