100 Words

43. Opium
We sat at the table. He handed me the pipe and simply said, “O,” and smiled. And I partook deeply, and smiled too. And suddenly I understood centuries of mad obsession and addiction and the dark complicated motivations of a wide swath of human history. In an instant that might have been an hour, or the other way around, everything fierce was calmed, everything loud was quiet, everything that mattered, didn’t, and I could have stayed there dumbly for a long time. It was so good that I knew it had to be the last time. “Oh,” I said, nodding.