Her mouth went dry. It felt like crumpled paper. Like crumpled sandpaper. She reached out for a drink of water. Loud gulping noises. Gushing noises. And then silence. Taking stock of the room around.
The curtain opens and the world intrudes her space. Streaming light and morning birds. A silky wind, caresses. A palm gropes around the side table. Fingers spread, coming down in a pattern. Left, right, forward. Until it finds the pack. Pick up and put next to her. The palm repeats the same groping movement. The lighter is found.
As the pack is opened, the light plastic scrunches. A stick is pulled out. The pack is snapped shut and thrown back. The stick is twirled around her fingers. Clockwise from index finger to middle finger and then anti clockwise from the middle finger to ring finger. Then it follows back the same route to the index finger. Again and again, back and forth. The other hand lights a flame. And then lets it die.
She is juggling now. The right hand twirling the stick, the left lighting and letting a flame die. She is in a trance, her head still staring at both movements, controlling them in her head and marveling at the coordination.
She stops. And brings the stick to her lips. In what is almost a twirling somersault between her fingers. The lighter is now being twirled. And now she lights it. Bringing it close to the stick. The flame dancing. Her hand stopping an inch away from the flame. The moment frozen. Then she moves her head forward for the stick to meet the flame.
The tip of the stick glows and becomes brighter as she takes the first defining drag. The crumpled sandpaper feeling in the mouth intensifies but her calm now blends into the intrusion of the new morning.