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Quitting Time

Part 1: A Resolve For Clean Living

Danny’s construction company party was in full blast. The company had just won a major construction project which would make them profitably busy for a couple of years. His bosses were throwing a company wide party and alcohol and cigars were flowing.

But he didn’t drink alcohol nor smoked cigar. A couple of months ago, he promised that he would live cleanly and abstain from drinking alcohol and smoking. Because of this, he was in danger of alienating his bosses who loved to drink alcohol and smoke cigar.

His boss walked up to him holding a cigar in one hand and a bottle of alcohol in the other hand, “I see that you’ve really done what you promised and have given up alcohol and smoking.”

Danny was very fearful now. His boss was looking at him with peering eyes. Danny doesn’t know if his boss was irritated with him or was simply looking at him with a drunk’s eyes. “Keep it up, Danny. You can do it. You’re an example to everyone,” laughed his boss.

When his boss was gone. He can’t guess if his boss was genuinely appreciative of him or is being sarcastic. It was clear as he looked all around the office that he was alone amid a sea of people who were almost drunken and smoking heavily.

Part 2: The Wrong Woman To Impress

What made him more lonely was the fact that the woman co-employee of which he had strong feelings for was herself a heavy drinker and smoker. She matched her male co-employees alcohol drinking and cigar smoking intake.

Her name was Cara and despite her smoking and alcohol drinking habit, he still developed strong feelings for her. This was probably because despite her smoking and drinking habit, she has kept her womanly poise and never gets drunk.

Danny cannot stand his current condition anymore. He felt that his lungs were being attacked by all the second hand smoke he was breathing in the office party. He went to the empty pantry and inhaled the fresh air in its surroundings.

When he felt that his lungs were once again healthy, he began to think of Cara again. He sighed, “I’m sure Cara would laugh so hard when she realizes that a man like me who is a non-smoker and a non-drinker has feelings for her.”

Part 3: Confessions

He was suddenly surprised when Cara entered the pantry still holding a cigar in one hand and a glass of alcohol in her other hand. She smiled, “What are you doing all alone here, Danny? You’re missing out on the fun.”

“I’ll be right along. I’m just resting,” he said as he tried to smile. She suddenly became conscious of the smoke in her cigar, “Oh, I’m sorry Danny. I should have realized you don’t smoke.”

“It’s all right. I don’t mind.” She opened the faucet and wetted her cigar until it was extinguished. “You shouldn’t have wasted your cigar,” he smiled, “those cigars were expensive.”

“I don’t mind. They’re free anyway. The marketing guys just gave it to us.” “Our boss is really kind, isn’t he, Cara?”, he said as he tried to begin a conversation. “Yes, he is. He’s like a father to me.”

“You’re right. He’s like a father to us.” “You know what he said to me a few minutes ago?” “What did he say, Cara?”

“He said that I’m a good girl but I should still follow you, Danny.” “What’s there to follow about me?” “Your clean living habit of not smoking and not drinking.”

“You mean he really said that?” “Yes, he did. He says that he’s particularly impressed of your principles. You’re not a suck up unlike the others who drink and smoke just because their boss does.”

Part 4: I Can Do It Too

She then drained the contents of her alcohol glass in the sink and washed it. She then poured herself cold drinking water from the refrigerator, “I guess I should follow you too, Danny. From now on, I’m quitting smoking and drinking.”

She looked at him straight in the eye, “How do you do it, Danny? How are you not tempted to smoke or drink when everyone else is doing it?” “I guess I just realized that it was the right thing to do.”

“I like your attitude, Danny,” she smiled, “I’ve never met a man who’s so disciplined and doesn’t break easily.”

Part 5: Fresher

A few days later, they happened to talk to each other again. She looked more healthier and more beautifuler than before. “Noticed it?”, she asked.

“Noticed what, Cara?” “I’m breathing much better now and I’m able to wake up early now without feeling all grouchy.” He laughed, “Oh that? Of course, you’re healthier now.”

“And I owe it all to you. You and your clean living mantra has been definitely good for me.” “I didn’t do anything, Cara. It was you yourself who decided to change for the better.” “But you were my inspiration. Let me make it up to you. How about lunch?”

His heart began to beat fast, “Cara is actually inviting me to lunch? I might have a chance with her.” As they walked out of the office and into a restaurant, they continued to talk.

She was very vibrant, “From now on, I’ll distance myself from men and women who smoke and drink. I’m now looking for friends just like you.” His heart sank when he heard the word ‘friend.’ Somehow he felt hurt when she said the word.

He was suddenly surprised when she held his wrist to carry him along, “Cmon Danny. I don’t usually get to meet guys like you” “Won’t anyone mind that you’re going out with me, Cara?”

“No, Danny, no one would be angry that I’m going out for lunch with you. In fact, I don’t care. I think you’re a special guy. I really think so.” He can see that there was a hint of meaning in her eyes.

“What we’re doing is wrong, Cara.” “What? How so?” “I don’t think of you as a friend, Cara. I think of you as more than a friend.”

“Are you saying what I’m thinking, Danny?” “You might become angry with what I would say, but I have feelings for you, Cara.” She didn’t speak and bowed her head.

“You’re really a different man, Danny. I have never met a man who’s so honest.“ She held his wrist again, “Cmon, Danny. We’ll miss lunchtime.” “You’re not angry with me, Cara?”

“Why should I be? I understand you loud and clear. I think I know you better now. Cmon, let’s eat lunch.” “Is that it, Cara? You won’t say anything else?”

“Learn to take a hint, Danny. First, we’ll have lunches and then we’ll see how everything goes between us.” Danny almost wanted to jump with joy.

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