Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

I don’t think it’s really fair to call this last bit of my story from yesterday a “part 2”. I was near the end already. Here it is anyway…

“Jie jie! Jie jie!” It was my little brother. He was searching for me, his eyes scanning the backyard. They hadn’t looked up to the our tree platform yet.

Cynthia and I hurriedly scrambled down the ladder, leaving behind the evidence of our bad behavior. We went to distract my brother before he could start snooping around.

“Hey Jeffrey!” Cynthia said to him sweetly, putting her arm around his shoulders and trying to steer him away.

“What are you doing?” Jeffrey asked us, trying to look behind us to see where we had come from.

“Nothing! Let’s go inside.” I said, not so sweetly and that was that.

It’s rather baffling to me that I started smoking for real after that first failed attempt, but I did. And if anyone doubts the addictive nature of cigarettes, let me say this. Even though I only smoked for maybe a year and not very much, there are times, like yesterday, when I’ll read a passage in a book, or see a scene in a movie, where a character is smoking, and I’ll crave a cigarette so badly. I’ll want to hold one between my fingers and take a big long drag and fill my lungs up with that horrible smoke. Luckily, the craving passes pretty quickly. I’ll remember tasting like an ashtray and I’ll go on hating the smell of cigarette smoke again. Of course, right now I could really use one.

You gotta smoke?

  1. Brian Rozinsky says:

    The way your writing puts a finger on that craving, its roots winding down the years all the way to this slice — a very effective and slightly chilling glimpse of addiction’s grasp.

  2. As a former smoker, it was killing me to read this slice . . . there are some days where I would do ANYTHING for a cigarette. I absolutely enjoyed reading yesterday and today’s slice. From where you ended yesterday and picked up today, perfection!

  3. onathought says:

    I had to go back and read part 1 too – what a great story about such a weirdly relatable thing. I don’t know why I was so obsessed with the idea of smoking when I was a kid. My friend and I used to go collect butts in a soda can in the forest behind my house. And we’d pretend to smoke them. BLARGH! So gross to think about now!

  4. Really liked how you split this story into two parts. The Jie Jie cliffhanger served a dual purpose. The way you described latchkey kiddos up to no good and that first drag were on point.

  5. Lainie Levin says:

    You could say that I’ve absorbed the difficulty of nicotine addition like secondhand smoke. My mom tried and failed quitting for decades as I was growing up. She finally kicked the habit. And she’d go right back if she could

    She has a deal with her doctor – if ever he has to give her the worst information. He’s just going to lay a carton of cigarettes on the desk and say “Well, I’ve got some good news and some bad news.”



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