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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