smokingLast weekend was an important anniversary for me.  On Saturday, it was exactly one year since I’d bummed a cigarette from an acquaintance, put it to my lips, lit it, and smoked the whole thing.  On Sunday, I’d gone a whole year without smoking an entire cigarette.  I’ll be honest—in that time, I’ve had a drag here and there.  The last time was when I got drunk at a friend’s wedding in August and walked around the reception plucking lit Marlboros, Camels, and Newports (Yeah, I was pretty hammered) inhaling a puff or two before returning them to their owners.  I’ve quit before, only to break down and take it up again.  But this time is different; this time I’m not going to start smoking again…but that doesn’t mean that I don’t miss it.

I love smoking.  God, I love it.  I love how it feels, how it taste, and how it makes me look (like a badass, in case you were wondering).  I tried it for the first time when I was eighteen and it was torrid seven-year romance.  I started with camel lights, then switched to Marlboro Lights, over to Marlboro Reds, back to Marlboro Lights, and finally to rolling my own with papers and loose tobacco.  My love was so strong that I learned a new skill set to surviving as smoker in New York (it’s about $8 a pack up here—if you didn’t know).  I became a professional at bumming spare cigarettes from people on the street and an expert at sniffing out spare change in various caches around my apartment to dump in handfuls on store counters for payment.

At the end of the day, what motivates me to keep from smoking is that I know it can control me.  It can send me out into the middle of night to an all night bodega or drug store.  It can make me beg and plead from someone at a bar to let me have one…just one cigarette.   Then, at the end, it’ll kill me.   And I don’t want to be controlled by anything (or anyone) other than me.  That’s why I know that I won’t start smoking again…but damn it, I still really want a cigarette.

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