Put Your Lips Together and Blow

I’ve always wanted to smoke.

I know it’s a ridiculous thing to desire; I am more than aware of the harmful consequences of picking up such a habit. That’s why I’ve never picked up a cigarette in my life. There are no stories of me as a rebellious thirteen-year-old hacking my lungs after my first drag of a Virginia Slim. I’ve known smokers my whole life, am related to them, dated them, hated them.

Yet, at the age of twenty-seven (which is far beyond the ides of teenage rebellion), I can’t help the squirming curiosity in my chest at the idea. Something about the movement entrances me. The flare of gold between fingertips, the delicate curve of a wrist, lips wrapping around paper before releasing a plume of smoke into the air. It’s almost like a dance and I can’t help but watch.

At the same token, there’s some strange part of me that’s clearly Hemingway in origin, that desires the sort of blissful self-destruction that all writers seem intoxicated by. I’ll sit at my computer and listen to ZZ Ward growl her way through sex and heartache and I keep glancing to my right, as if a bottle of whiskey and a pack of cigarettes will appear as if by artistic whim. It’s an indulgence of the worst kind, yet I still find myself craving the taste of smoke that I’ve never had, veins lit up with nicotine and my lungs seared with heat.

It’s disaster at the tips of my fingers and self-immolation at its finest. Hemingway was fond of drowning, but I would much rather burn.

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