my smoking secret

  –february 14, 2007

when i was in grade 1, i was so curious as to what it felt to smoke cigarettes. i saw men doing it, and i was enamored. when my yaya left me to make tsismis with other helpers, i picked a used cigarette from the ground. it still had a bit of life, and i tried it. i wasn’t that paranoid about saliva and germs and AIDS and cancer and decay, and so i took my very first puff from a stranger’s cigarette. there was no epiphany; after that puff, i threw it away and continued playing.

one time, i had a crush on a guy who looked like he shooots junk up his nose daily. gangly and pale, he occupied my mind like a confused boy. he wrote plays; not the usual emotion-ridden ones, but plays that speak of pyschedelic wars and tormented people. i saw him once walking to the school gates; i was so bewildered i wrote an entry about his walk, how his shoulders seemed to hunch up as if defying the wind.

another time, i saw him rushing out of a building and throwing his cigarette to the ground. i don’t know if another soul occupied my body, but i went and picked up the cigarette butt. i didn’t put it to my lips, but i gingerly placed it between the pages of my journal. i still have it pressed between the pages, with dried petals, my heart, wishing feathers and other ethereal items. i don’t know where he is now, if he snores in his sleep, if he still wears large shirts for his frame, if his cheeks are still sunken. for all i know, he might have quit smoking, he might have migrated. but oh, when i remember him, he is a ghost that is of words and flesh, and he jars my days, and i would be back to wondering if he threw any scrap away for me to grovel on it.

now, whenever i am overwhelmed in a negative way, i go out and smoke. all by myself. i don’t believe in smoking with friends. i can’t bear their incredulous stares and probing remarks when it appears i am smoking for the first time. when i decide to smoke, it means i am frazzled about a situation. or i am simply sad. such as today. so i bummed a stick from a person who i know wouldn’t question me. i took in that cigarette very slowly, as if  pondering on answers, but truthfully, i was just trying to slow down time. if i can’t have the bigger things in life, if some dreams and some people are only a mirage, at least, i have a stick that understands me.

so aside from my habit of assigning songs to persons dear to me (e.g. snow in the sahara for person a, head over feet, somewhere only we know and stars for person b, building a mystery for person c,  take my hand for person d, and so on…), i also pigeonhole people according to the number of sticks they made me take.

i’m not sure if you, dear reader, are one of the people i am referring to. but if you are, thanks for the sticks. gave me one more reason to stock up on lip balm.

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4 thoughts on “my smoking secret

  1. Vlad says:

    I don’t really smoke. But I’d smoke with you. Just puffing quietly. No questions. Just smoke. And strangely enough, I think we’ll know more than if we opened our mouths to actually say something.

  2. Janelle says:

    “i still have it pressed between the pages, with dried petals, my heart, wishing feathers and other ethereal items. ”

    See? You’re also an old soul like me (in a child’s body? joke lang.) Being sentimental really helps. Sometimes. Tee Hee!

  3. evaluna08 says:

    hey vlad. nice name. i think we haven’t met. but thanks for your nice thoughts. try your best not to smoke, it’s bad for your health. 🙂 but if it makes you real, then go ahead, live. life is short.

    may this help you:

    “What is real?” asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”

    “Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real.”

    “Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

    “Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are real you don’t mind being hurt.” – Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

  4. evaluna08 says:

    janelle! how’s life treatin’ you? 🙂 thanks for your comments. you are a virgin comment-er in my blog; first time’s always memorable, haha! so thank you for being the organizer of our soon-to-be-a-reality beach trip. hmm, sentimental… i guess it can take several forms, mine is more on the literary-poetry-fiction-bleed-myself-dry side. i like brown, unlined journals, and these are where i press bits of my life.

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