"We both developed a passion for cigarettes. Tobacco is difficult to find here, and terribly expensive when you do, but Sam had made a number of black market connections while compiling the research for his book, and he was often able to find packs of twenty for as low as one or one-and-a-half glots. I am talking about real, old-fashioned cigarettes, the kind that are produced in factories and come in colorful paper wrappers with cellophane on the outside. The ones Sam bought had been stolen from the various foreign charity ships that had docked here in the past, and the brand names were usually printed in languages we could not even read. We would smoke them after it got dark, lying in bed and looking out through the big, fan-shaped window, watching the sky and its agitations, the clouds drifting across the moon, the tiny stars, the blizzards that came pouring down from above. We would blow the smoke out of our mouths and watch it float across the room, casting shadows on the far wall that dispersed the moment they formed. There was a beautiful transience in all this, a sense of fate dragging us along with it into unknown corners of oblivion. We often talked about home then, summoning up as many memories as we could, bringing back the smallest, most specific images in a kind of languorous incantation--the maple trees along Miro Avenue in October, the Roman numeral clocks in the public school classrooms, the green dragon light fixture in the Chinese restaurant across from the university. We were able to share the flavor of these things, to relive the myriad incidentals of a world we had both known since childhood, and it helped to keep our spirits up, I think, helped to make us believe that some day we would be able to return to all that."
- Paul Auster, In the Country of Last Things