Old Smoky This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   One day I was at a friend's house. While he was getting ready, I was watching TV when I heard the scariest thing I've ever heard. My friend's grandfather was in the bathroom coughing so hard it sounded like his lungs were going to come out of his body.

After hacking for a good ten minutes, he came out and immediately lit up an unfiltered cigarette. I knew he was in bad shape, which made me really angry, since I had known this nice man for about five years. I wanted to ask him why he was killing himself. I wondered if he knew what he was doing to himself. But I didn't have enough courage to ask. I thought if I asked him, or told him how bad smoking was for him, it would make an old lonely man even more depressed.

While my friend and I were out, I asked him about his grandfather's smoking. He acted like he didn't mind, it was no big deal, but I knew he was hurting. He was the type of kid with that tough appearance who doesn't want anyone to know how he truly feels. It really bothered me that he said he didn't mind his grandpop smoking. I thought if I felt bad, he should, too.

For the next few days, I thought about it. I decided I would talk to his grandfather. I planned my conversation. Building up enough courage was a problem, but I thought I could conquer it. I called my friend to see if it was okay to go talk to his grandfather. But he said no. So I never got my point across. I wasn't going to go behind his back.

Three weeks later, his grandfather died of "natural causes." I still believe he died from smoking. I can't help but feel somewhat responsible for not saying something when I had the opportunity. But I felt that it would be like taking his soul. I guess smoking was all he

had left.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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