I had my first puff of a cigarette when I was ten years old...
It was my grandmother’s and she had left it in the ashtray while making a run into the gas station. Nobody saw, and I don’t believe I’ve ever told anyone until the creation of this blog. It’s funny to think about it now. I didn’t smoke for at least two years after that. It may have been longer.
The next time, I was with some old friends whom you can all address as Bri and Jaci. I was around the age of twelve, I think. Maybe younger. They slept at my house and, when my mother fell asleep, the three of us went outside with a couple of her cigarettes. They were originals, roll-your-owns that, little did I know then, can never really compare to the rich, cool feeling of Marlboro menthols entering your lungs. Regardless, I was one of them, part of our rebellious trio even though they would have to return to their downstate home a week later. For that night, we were close as close could be, passing a cheap cigarette between us. I guess anything you steal is cheap, but I think you know what I mean.
The following morning, I woke up to my mother practically interrogating me. Which was funny, because none of the things she’d noticed had been my doing - my little brother, S, had been with us that evening. He wasn’t part of us, though, he was just the dumb kid that tagged along. In the end, Jaci and Bri didn’t rat on me - just themselves and S, so I got off without being in trouble. They tell me now that they didn’t get in that much trouble, but I have my doubts.
I smoked on and off for the next couple years, but it wasn’t consistent and it certainly wasn’t addictive at the time. It probably is now - I don’t care to dwell on that.
My ex-boyfriend, who at the time was five years older than my meek thirteen, was likely the cause of my smoking becoming a regular habit. I could go to his house, where his parents barely paid attention, and I could inhale cancerous fumes until eleven o’clock at night when I went home. This certainly isn’t the only toxic thing that went on in that particular relationship, which I’ll no doubt talk about in the future, but I find it funny now. We dated for a year, and then we dated in secret for roughly another six months before I finally broke up with him for real. During those six months, he’d buy me packs of cigarettes and drive out to where I lived to give them to me. This fueled my fire, simultaneously giving me a reason to smoke and a reason to see him. I needed no more reasons to do either of those things. But once again, that relationship is a story for another day.
My smoking lessened without his giving them to me, but my mother has smoked for years, so I could still take those in the evenings. I guess it all worked out.
Now that I’m dating C, who smokes as well, I have a safe place to enjoy my habits again. Our mutual friend, an adult named J who happens to be Mysty’s father, he buys us cigarettes in exchange for chores and sometimes we just pay him the money. It works out, and his house is like a safe haven for us kids. My choice? Marlboro menthols, 100′s. I like the Black ones too, because they remind me of C.
Written April 23rd of 2015.