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 cigarette 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 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:

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

smokefree.nhs.org.uk

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Short story writer based in York, UK. Video profile: youtu.be/5OTcLPQkGAU

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