I quit

It’s been seven years since smoking and I broke up.
We were together for seven years, too.
Our relationship started with ‘going twos’ at a gig,
and ended with a chest infection. 

I used to love smoking, dumb as it sounds now. I didn’t mind the ‘smoker’ label one bit. Marlboros, Lucky Strikes, rollies… I was on 20 a day.

Smoking fitted around my routines: between classes… on lunch at work… before going out… if I wasn’t lighting up, I wasn’t ‘taking a break’.

I remember that kick of the first smoke of the day — it felt like taking in an icy breath of winter air at 5AM one late November morning.

Smoking was good. It was who I was, because I did it all the time. It was also how I did things, like writing, reading, walking — with a cigarette between my lips.*

The break-up 

On day 2,617 of my relationship with smoking, we broke up suddenly.

I got a chest infection, which is pretty normal for smokers, I think. I was a spluttering mess. I couldn’t smoke a cigarette, no matter how hard I tried. (I had swine flu, if I remember right.)

After a brutal coughing fit I thought to myself: If you’re ever going to quit smoking, it’s probably now.

A few days’ cold turkey turned into a week, to two weeks, to four… and that was it. The infection disinfected me.

* Whether it’s biting our nails, twiddling our hair, or whatever, “We are what we repeatedly do”, so they say.


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Through a wet windscreen:
a photo album

All images taken on an iPhone 5.


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For my while of forever

I’ll see you, in a while.

It’s early in the morning, and in a while, I’ll be coming to visit. I’m excited to see you. Are you excited to see me too?

I’m a strange girl, just so you know.

In a while we’ll spend a good while together, but it’ll all go too fast. A while later it’ll be the next morning, and I’ll be waking up on your chest.

Maybe after a while we’ll get serious, and see more of each other. And when we’re apart, I’ll take a while to think about what I really want: You.

I’ll be a little bit in love with you, ha. OK, a big bit. Will it make you proud, or amused, when I tell you this?

After a while it’ll just be you and me, whiling away our timeless time… You’ll be the guy I found out I needed.

A while in the future you’ll realise we’ve been together quite a while. You’ll say that maybe, in a while, we should think about getting married. Because your parents said so.

Wow! I’ll be surprised.

I’ll feel like we should take a while longer to think about it. I’m a romantic girl, but it’s a big step, right?

You’ll go mad when I tell you this. Things’ll get awkward.

I’ll think things’ll probably sort themselves out after a while, but they won’t. In just a short while, we’ll drift apart.

And you should know that none of it will be your fault… all mine.

For some reason I won’t do my bit to make it right. Because I’m an idiot. Eventually I’ll come to my senses, but a while too late. Nothing I say will make any difference to you.

I’ll be a complete mess, for a while. You’ll move on and find another girl and, after a while, I’ll try to… I promise.

But hey, can you imagine, for a while, a parallel universe, where things are different?

We’re still together there, enjoying everything we had, and more, and new.

I think that’s where I’ll live for a while. For longer than a while. For my while of forever.

Would you live in that world with me, even just… for a while? It’s as real as the world we don’t have to imagine, and I like it way more.

Do you see the memories we’ve made in that world? We’ve built something special there.

Take a while to see:

When it was 5AM but we were still awake. That day at the fairground. That night we can’t remember. All the times we did, we felt, we went, we saw, we laughed.

The children.

Do you not see this?

When you do, you’ll know where to find me.

I’ll see you, in a while.


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