I’m supposed to be writing a cover story right now, but I can’t go on with it. I miss you. I miss you so much. Remember all the good times we had together? In the back room of the garage that November, when I was 14. In the Ford Explorer at night on deserted Texas roads, Cher blasting on the radio. So many nights out at bars, evenings spent writing reviews and stories, in bed while reading Colette, on the street killing time.
We flew too close to the sun together, didn’t we? Gradually our love turned to habit. We didn’t enjoy one another the same way. You became something I did, rather than something I loved. And that doesn’t make your loss any easier to bear. My hands feel empty; sometimes I wake up and my fingers are curled around a phantom Pall Mall.
My jaw hurts a lot, I’m sure you’re happy to hear. I guess I clench it when I’m not smoking. But you have to understand, cigarettes: You’re so expensive. $11 a pack? I can’t afford $40 a week if I want to quit my job. Life isn’t fair. We know that, you and I, don’t we, cigarettes? I hate that Mayor Bloomberg won. I really do. And I hate that my job has taken away one more thing that I love to do. To escape my job, I had to leave you behind. If I must jettison you in an effort to survive, then I will.
You know what I miss the most? The rituals. Plucking you out of your box. Selecting a lighter. You punishing me if I used matches instead, filling my mouth and throat with sulfur when I inhaled. Tapping the ashes into one of our very cool ashtrays. Using you to gesticulate at my desk while doing my performance art to my iTunes library. Crushing you out. Smoking you and contemplating where my story was going. Sitting in my apartment in the summer, ashes sticking to my sweaty skin, pulling on a Camel and sipping a Coke.
Why god, why? Why do cigarettes have to be so expensive? Why does my job have to be so terrible?
I hope you’re happy, cigarettes. I hope you’re going out on the town with lots of different people who will love you the way I did. Do. Did?