I loved smoking cigarettes. I loved everything about it – the fire, the smoke, the rush, the air-art of jagged mountains that would fade in a breeze. At first, I used it as a prop on the stage of college life – journalism to be exact. A cigarette in hand, I instantly became an imaginary reporter in a dark and smoky room with a single light bulb suspended over my typewriter as I reported breaking news produced on the incoming newswires click click click click. My ashtray overflowed, each cigstub representing another seven minutes spent constructing the perfect story.
I didn’t graduate as a reporter; instead, I traveled, married and reared a few children. I unraveled, married again (and again) and patched my life back together several times over. The blue smoke remained a constant. Cigs, you see, became my best friends. All twenty in a row – always there, always dependable, always pleasurable, always standing ready at attention like little white papered soldiers with tan boots in my flip-top box of life.
I smoked in Paris and felt tres chic. I smoked at the Vatican and felt like a racy little sinner. I became Audrey Hepburn with her sleek little black cig holder as long as her neck. I was a fashion model using cigs to keep my weight down, punctuating my puffs with a spoonful of yogurt here and there and an occasional snickers bar to keep me going.
This went on for years – and years – and years. I evened out at two-packs-a-day and kept that going for what seemed like forever. There was a streak of time that I thought I was smoking three packs a day – turns out, other models were raiding my stash. I was relieved. Two was okay, three a bit excessive. Two going at one time was weird, but that happened sometimes, too.
I knew I was damaging my lungs but since I couldn’t see them it really didn’t matter to me. My imaginary lungs were blackening and I really didn’t care. I could have swallowed a canary and it wouldn’t have flown back out simply because I knew for a fact it would fly right past my lungs without so much as even noticing them and then would get all tangled up in peristaltic action never to fly back out anyway. The canary test didn’t apply, so therefore I was still okay. Besides, my skin was still a healthy pink without wrinkles except for a few around the corners of my mouth like what nuns get from pursing their lips from being in the perpetual state of too much disdain. I related to the disdainful nuns and lit up another one. I wondered if I could smoke if I entered a convent. Continue reading