The Seduction

Leslie's Letter to Cigarettes

James Brey/E+/Getty Images

The relationship we develop with smoking is a toxic one, as Leslie's letter to cigarettes illustrates.

From Leslie:

I was a little intimidated by you, when first we met. You seemed so sophisticated, so cool. And you came with such nifty accessories; in gold and silver, multi-coloured, engraved cases, bronzed creatures. There were hard or smooth packets that contained mini explosions that burst and waned in a sizzle.

Wow, I thought. I was pretty impressed.

At the beginning, I only pretended to like you. You see, I wanted so badly to fit in, to belong. And you were so popular, so glamourous. I hung out with you now and then just to be 'cool' by association. I was such an awkward girl, and it seemed that hanging out with you made me look more interesting, a little edgy.

Then we just became closer and I started to spend more and more time with you. You promised me that I would always be strong with you, you would never let me down, that together, we could conquer anything. I believed you, you were so suave, and I had felt so alone. Now I was part of something, and so were others, and we would all gather close together, trading and sharing accessories, huddling and cuddling with you, enraptured and captured.

I turned trustingly towards you and believed everything you promised. Plus there were so many others who believed, and I trusted them, too.

I inhaled your very essence, even when the warning signs began, ever so slightly, tapping so quietly, as often they do. I felt edgy, uncomfortable alot, especially when I couldn't get to you, couldn't be near you. I didn't feel so well either, a few headaches, my heart raced, and sometimes it jumped.

I was starting to get tired alot, too.

But I didn't want to look at these things, didn't want to give you up. I was wrapped in denial. The thought of being without you was too terrifying, and so I ignored the signs, and continued our journey. We gazed at moonlit skies, lit up the darkness with glowing embers, designing puffy ghost donuts in the air to amuse ourselves. I noticed even when I felt I wanted to be with you when I was upset, that you didn't really comfort me, you didn't truly ease my pain.

Many times, after a rough experience, I would turn to you. But the next day I would feel even worse, and the pain that I'd been trying to obliterate was still within, and even stronger, because added were recriminations and guilt. It was then I realized you were a liar.

I have learned through the years that what I don't acknowledge mentally, manifests itself physically and emotionally, and I could really tell that our relationship was becoming unhealthy. But your lies were so effective, the illusions so blinding, my reliance so complete.

I was just too uncomfortable without you, I feel panicked and weak.

I thought I couldn't face the world without you. You had been there for everything, and I knew I wouldn't be able to deal with anything if you weren't by my side. But I was getting weary of paying for you all of the time. I couldn't afford alot of things I really wanted because I had to pay for you, and you just kept wanting more and more every single year; more of my money, more of my energy, more of my time. It's like you stole the very glow from my cheeks. Maybe I was the one who started inhaling you, but by the end, it was I who felt drained. And then you became possessive.

You permeated everything, everything I touched, my clothes, my hair, my very breath from your toxic kisses. After a particularly rough happenstance in my life, I leant on you heavily, and I felt so bad, so covered in ichor and the pain didn't dissipate even remotely, and I knew, I knew it was the beginning of the end.

Letting you go is one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But I think it was more the promise of you, and the warped memories than the actual loss. The promise that would only end in sickness, pain and death. I'd seen what you've done to others, but somehow with me - I thought it would be different, thought I was different. I think many of us think that way, that somehow we'll escape your destructive, writhing grasp. But you've never been worth the chance, thief of hearts, of body and mind.

And now you're gone, and though I've cried for weeks, and thought I missed you and nearly asked you back...things are becoming clearer now. I sleep better, I can taste my food again, laugh without wheezing, run with abandonment and energy. Although I won't lie, there remains the whiffs of memories past that still tap my shoulder, but they grow more and more faint as time goes on.

I'm finally moving on.

More from Leslie:
One Full Week
The Smokescreen
Replacement Therapy
Not One Puff Ever (N.O.P.E.) - Part One
Not One Puff Ever (N.O.P.E.) - Part Two

Continue Reading