Some days I wish I had someone or something to point to, some source to pin down as the first thing that swayed me. Blaming advertising, or peer pressure, or a cool factor would be easier than saying I started because I was curious, and I keep on because it's good for my hands, it keeps them busy, and if it doesn't make me less tense, at least I have valid reasons for my hands to be cold and trembling.

It was a week or two before I finished my first pack of cigarettes, almost as long before I actually inhaled. It was twice as long, if not longer, before I got them lit on the first match. I felt, if anything, less cool than before, stupider, I couldn't light the damn things, people must be able to tell that I am going lightheaded and faint and supremely nauseous. There were two days where I actually left work early on 'sick' reasons, after a smoke break where I'd overestimated my capacity.

So why? I still get woozy at times, still feel faint. It doesn't serve as an appetite supressant, (and if it did, I think that would be reason enough for me). I have kept it secret from my family, the people I live with, my coworkers. I would not do well to call myself a smoker in my community.

But still... (It's not the cigarette burns. They are tangental, incidental, history, (I think)). It is something to occupy my hands with, and the smoke is something to watch, and more than anything, it has become part of my routine. It has become so much of something that I do that last night, I was walking with friends and found myself wishing for the first time that I could have a smoke.

The city has changed context for me, my walk to the train after work trails ashes, (but only to the train after work, to the train TO work is wrong, that's in my neighborhood). My sundays, my late nights, matches in spare pockets. I have a different coat that I never smoke in, trying to maintain some semblance of order in the divisions I have set up.

I don't call myself a smoker, no, I go for days or weeks without a single cigarette and do not miss it, do not miss the nicotine, the dizziness, the way my knees will bounce and shake when I have them placed on the floor firmly. What I miss in these times is the way the smoke curls up around me, the way it is something I know I should not be doing but still can stop, the way it keeps my hands busy and my mouth occupied enough to delay the need for responding.

I have started smoking (but I am not a smoker, this is something I cannot afford, and I mean in every aspect but the financial). I have started smoking because there is nothing like smoking, nothing that is as tangental and almost incidental but still so central to the way you move and think and use your hands, there is nothing that will fill time and space and emptiness like smoking does.

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