Smoke

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Thoughts I have while on a smoke break at work.

Smoke

The wind is blowing in my face as I try to get my lighter to work. The familiar zip of the metal wheel sounds, ripping at my thumb. A spark, another spark, I inhale through my cigarette and try to coax a flame. “Shit,” I mutter, and turn my back to the wind. Finally, the flame pops up steadily. I inhale deeply to light my cigarette, tasting the gas of the lighter and fill my lungs.

 I throw the lighter in my pocket, and take my cigarette between my two fingers. My whole life I’ve admired how the grey smoke dances in seemingly choreographed swirls. Two more puffs and I feel that rush of nicotine through my brain, relaxing my muscles; I close my eyes.  Deep breath of oxygen, appreciating the time to myself, the wind on my face.

Since I started smoking I realized that I never spent enough time outside. What a terrible excuse to enjoy the beautiful green grass and trees. Perhaps I don’t need to smoke, maybe I just need more time in the sun, feeling fresh air on my face. I take a drag. Flick the ash off the end of my cigarette. I’m getting much better at that, I notice. I moan, enjoying the rush of every inhale. Exhaling, expelling the smoke from my lungs, watching it dance away with the wind. I think of all the people I’ve sat next to and watched them do the same thing I am. Never understanding why they chose to poison themselves, to choose to smell of smoke and chew gum to mask their breath. I get it now, all day I planned when I would have time to enjoy my next one. When I wasn’t going to have to see my boyfriend again so he wouldn’t notice the smell of smoke on my fingers or hair.

I don’t want to be a smoker. I don’t want to have my children see me light one up, or have them appreciate how the smoke dances off of the tip of my fingers. I don’t want them to think that it’s okay because Mommy does it. I don’t want to buy an ash tray for my back porch. But the stress of adulthood has driven me to choose a way to relax. I needed something to help me get away, an excuse to be outside, an excuse to take a moment to enjoy the wind on my face and the green grass and trees. My boyfriend wouldn’t approve, so I hid it from him in my viper pocket of my purse. I’m sure he knows I’m hiding something. The kindest man I’ve ever met. He would do anything for anyone, and go even further if it were for someone he cared for.

He wasn’t good at saying he loves me, but I know he does every time he takes the time to call, or plans dinner for us. Five years my senior, he thinks he knows that much better than I do, but too often I teach him something he didn’t know about the world. I take another puff and think about how lucky I am to have such an amazing man in my life. I look at the end of my cigarette, shorter, burning orange, smoke dancing off the end. Another drag, I hold my breath and look up at the sky. Massive majestic white clouds contrast the perfect blue, just like the masterful paintings you see in a museum. I ruin the picture as I exhale, watching the smoke spread over my view.

I check the time, three minutes left before my break is over. One thing I’ve committed to since I bought my first pack was that I wouldn’t look at my phone while I enjoyed every stick. No Facebook or texts like I spend the rest of my day doing. Smoking is a special time, set aside from the bright screen, so that I can better enjoy the bright green grass and trees. I feel sad as I notice that I’ve got only one good drag left. I savor it, and push the public service announcements out of my head. I know what it’s doing to me, every smoker knows. I picture the stress that I’m about to walk back into, and savor my choice of quiet alone time and the excuse I needed to pick up so that I may have it.

Time is up, and my cigarette is gone. I put it out on the cement next to me, watch it break and bend. I flick it across the parking lot as I walk inside. Noise bombards my ears, green grass and trees and blue sky and white clouds are behind me; stress is in front of me. I plan when I have time for another one.


Submitted: April 18, 2015

© Copyright 2020 ChristinaNicole. All rights reserved.

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Comments

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Roni Archer

Yeah I agree with Charlie, not sure why but it grabs your attention. Your description and the way you convey exactly what you think is mesmerising. Very enjoyable :)

Mon, April 20th, 2015 7:58pm

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Criss Sole

I can certainly relate to this. I took up smoking while I was in University to get away from the stress and never ending assignments. Then when I started working, having a cigarette was a nice way to be outside and get a break from all of the customers. All of my co-workers smoked as well. So we understood each other on some level. We just needed a moment to get away from the busy, stressful work environment.
I never imagined I would stop smoking one day. I did feel guilt knowing what it was doing to my body. It was never my choice to quit... but a turn of events in my life made me a non smoker now. In a way I feel better, but I do miss those days when I would take a break from work and stand outside enjoying a cigarette and the summer sun.

Thu, April 23rd, 2015 9:24am

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Jonah Ryan

I'm so glad you're back, I've missed reading your writing. Got to say though, I hated this a little bit, mostly because I've been trying so hard to quit smoking lately... everytime I get a craving I make a pro-con list in my head and usually I end up not smoking. This was so wonderfully written that it was practically one giant pro list that has now ended with me having a cigarette in my backyard.... so that's your fault. Whatever, you're such a good writer that I don't think you even smoke, you're just able to write people's feelings. Nice to see (read) you again!!

Wed, May 20th, 2015 11:06pm

Author
Reply

Thanks! Sorry about that craving. I actually did start smoking due to stress, trying to quit now, writing has helped with it. Glad you like it.

Thu, May 21st, 2015 11:59am

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