A woman tells the silly story of how she started smoking
| "So, how did you start smoking?"
I looked up from my cigarette to my coworker who had joined me today. We didn't smoke together often, he was normally on a different shift than me, working nights while I worked during the day at our small accounting firm. It was coming to the end of the third quarter however and everyone was working longer than their typical hours to ensure that all our clients were satisfied. I took a drag from my cigarette and looked up at him. Did I dare tell him the embarrassing story? It was almost not even worth telling, it was so dumb. I had just started smoking this cigarette and I did not want an excuse to rush back to work so I took a drag and started to tell him the story.
A certain amount of years ago
"So since it is your twenty-first birthday today, what do you want to do?" My best friend Sadie and I were leaving our Accounting class together and she had asked me a question that I had an answer for. I looked over to her and fidgeted a bit before deciding to tell her.
"Well, you know how most people go drinking on their twenty-first birthday", I asked her and she nodded her head in response, "well, it isn't just drinking that becomes legal when you turn twenty-one anymore." It took her a few seconds to work out what I meant before she looked over at me, a look of small shock on her face.
"Really, smoking?" She asked, a bit of panic in her voice.
I looked down for a second ashamed, then looked back up to her. "It has been on my bucket list for a while to buy myself a pack of Misty cigarettes and at least try them. They seemed to be calling me."
Sadie looked at me, then out her hands up to her head in annoyance. "Just because your name is Misty doesn't mean you need to smoke a cigarette with that name."
"Really, just because of your name?" The man whom I was smoking with in present day looked over at me, the look on his face similar to the one Sadie had that day. I took a drag of my cigarette to stop him and continued my story.
The pair of us walked to the local 7-11, I got a soda, and then I got in line, Sadie next to me, shaking her head nearly every step along the way. I got to the counter and looked at the wall of cigarettes, Marlboro, Virginia Slims, Newport, American Spirits, and there in near the center, a single row, or would it be column, of Misty cigarettes.
I gathered up my nerve, took out my id, handed it to the cashier and asked, "one pack of Mistys please, oh and a lighter." The man at the counter looked at my card and then at me, like he was trying to read if the card was fake or not. He shook his head and muttered under his breath something I could not hear. He turned around and grabbed a pack, the pack with my name on it, and turned back around. I grabbed a lighter from the stand that was on the counter and paid for everything. Me and Sadie then exited the store.
Once we were out she looked over at me and sighed, "happy now", she asked.
I shook my head no, and pulled out my phone, ready to take a selfie with the pack with my name on it.
"You are going to let others know you that you bought cigarettes?" Sadie asked, shocked.
"No, no", I said, to calm her down, "this is just so I have something to remember my twenty-first birthday by. In the selfie I was holding the pack next to my face with a giant smile on my face.
Back in the present day, I flicked the ash off my cigarette and laughed to myself. "You know", I told my coworker, "that picture did become my profile pic for about a year." I took another drag and continued the story.
My selfie taken I walked over to a bench and pulled out the lighter, it took a few tries but I got it to light. Satisfied, I looked at the pack of cigarettes I bought and tried to bring my nerve up. I breathed in and out and after a few seconds, I was ready. I looked at the pack and then looked over to Sadie.
"Do you know why people beat on cigarettes?" I asked her.
"Beat on?" She replied.
"You know", I showed her by doing a bit of what I discovered was called packing the cigarettes. She shook her head no, and I stopped. I opened up the pack, first by removing the plastic exterior then by opening the box. I looked in the pack and saw twenty long white cylinders. I pulled one out and sniffed it. I had never smelled anything like it, and even today I have a hard time explaining what they smell like, if it was Menthol it would be easy, but I didn't grab the Menthol variety. I looked over at Sadie, who looked down on me, one because she was standing while I was sitting, and two, because she thought this was stupid, and sighed.
I put the cigarette in my mouth and, much like the smell, I had never tasted anything like it, while I have grown to tolerate, accept, and now, love the taste, it was not like that the first time. I pulled it out and scrunched up my face. Sadie had a small smile growing on her face and I hate to admit it, but at that moment I knew I was going to smoke the whole pack of cigarettes that I had just bought, just to show her.
I put the cigarette back into my mouth and lit the lighter and brought it up to the cigarette, and well, you know how it went. Back in the present day, I looked over at my coworker who tapped his cigarette and laughed a bit. I coughed my head off. Sadie laughed and laughed, I looked at her and just to show her I brought the cigarette back to my mouth and coughed some more.
Needless to say, my first cigarette went horribly. I thought about taking the pack and throwing it into a trash can I saw in front of me, slightly to the right now that I think about it, but like I said, Sadie's smile, and her laughing kept me from doing it. I stood up, and looked at her and lied my butt off.
"Not the best thing I have ever had, but I think I should try again later." I tried to sound triumphant, noble in fact, but it did not really work, considering I started coughing right after that line.
Back in the present day, I took a small drag of my cigarette, about half-way done and decided I sadly needed to speed the story up.
"Sorry about the rushed nature of the rest of the story, but I am halfway done with my cigarette as you can see." I told my coworker and continued the story.
That night, me and Sadie went to a bar, I had just turned twenty-one, she was twenty-two, and she was going to show me her favorite drinks. Now truth be told, between the two of us, I had drank a few times before, I was in college after all. Still, I humored her and let her grab me a pair of drinks.
Now, these drinks, they loosened me up, and they loosened up Sadie. I, giggling, pulled out the pack, and showed Sadie I was going to go out and smoke a cigarette, she couldn't believe it, how sick I had nearly been, she at first was going to try to stop me, but, maybe it was the alcohol influencing her, she instead decided to come and watch.
Lighting the lighter drunk for the first time was a bit of an experience, but luckily I was able to get it lit and not set myself on fire, and soon I was smoking my second cigarette. It went as bad as my first and truth be told, if it wasn't for Sadie treating my suffering like her own comedy show I would have thrown out the pack there, I saw a trash can, I think, and could have thrown it out, but I did not.
In fact, I got so sick of Sadie's laughing that I said the phrase I probably should not have said in hindsight.
"You think this is funny, why don't you try it?" I said to her.
At this my coworker coughed back in present day, and looked up at me, almost in anticipation, "no", he said, dragging out the o at the end of the word. I smiled at him and continued the story.
Sadie is not as stubborn as me, well, normally, when she is drunk, she can be, and well, she held her hand out and was motioning for me to give her a cigarette. I was happy to give her one, in fact, I lit the cigarette for her. When she started to cough, I laughed my butt off. I think back to the pair of us, sitting outside a bar, coughing and smoking, and man it makes me feel embarrassed. She finished the cigarette and we went back to drinking. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur, I remember most of it, it is just hazy, all that matters is that when I woke up the next morning there were two more cigarettes missing from my pack, which I found on a table in the middle of my and Sadie's apartment.
After being thankful that my birthday had fallen on a Friday and allowed the pair of us to sleep in, I looked down at the pack and made a decision right then and there, I would try one more cigarette, if it was as bad as the first two, I would throw the pack out, if not, I would finish the pack and then quit smoking.
I took a drag of my cigarette in present day, motioned to it and shrugged to my coworker.
Well, the cigarette was slightly better, I had to subdue a small cough, but that was it, I was shocked at how much easier it was to hold down the cigarette than the day and night before. I also didn't realize it at the time, but I was slightly inhaling. Like I said, my memory is hazy of that night, but I went to have another cigarette and an older man watched me smoke it and pointed out to me I was not inhaling, well he showed me how.
It was a snowball effect after that, I was able to smoke the cigarettes by the end of the pack easily, and in fact enjoyed them, so I went to the store, and bought a second pack, and the rest as they say is history.
Back in the present day I put out my cigarette and started to head back till my coworker stopped me. "Wait, what about Sadie?"
I turned around and smiled.
"Well, she did not start, at least not at first, she started to smoke with me when we went to a bar, and well, I showed her she wasn't inhaling and she started to inhale because of it. Eventually, as happens to it seems like everyone she started to smoke when she was not drunk, and well, she still smokes to this day."
I was about to leave when I stopped, realizing I never got my coworker's name. "If you do not mind me asking, what is your name?"
He smiled, pulled out his pack of cigarettes, Maverick, and answered, "Kent".