Cigarettes As A Metaphor For Heartbreak

 

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II

One month ago, I stood next to my car with you, experiencing the dawning realisation that this was going nowhere. I leaned on the door and shuffled my feet as you said I didn’t fit into your life anymore, not now that you were sorting yourself out, conquering your fears, getting back on track. You said you couldn’t have made it this far without me but it was too painful to be with me now, that it pulled you back to when life was bad. A cut-throat reminder that I was enough for only some things.

Well, I hope you enjoyed that little moment, that you took it home and wrapped yourself in it, feeling a swell of pride for having broken the unbreakable.

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I

Six months ago, you whispered through tears, “I love you.”

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III

Twenty-nine days ago, I found your cigarettes in the bottom of my bag. The pack was crushed. I smoked them, one by one, all afternoon until I could breathe again, the skylight open above my head. I quit smoking a year ago but that pack, that day, was not failure or relapse. It was catharsis. I was disgusted, as much by how I still wanted you to want me as by the acrid taste of burning tobacco.

Lying on my bed in a haze of smoke I remembered your smile, your eyes, all those clichés. How amazing for someone who forgets most faces in an instant. But there I was, my own eyes red-rimmed and dark-circled, skin pale, hair wild and lips bitten, picturing your particular arrangement of features with painful accuracy. I pulled my sleeves down over shaking hands with bitten fingernails and tried to hate you.

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A note from the author

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