It’s 2017 and I Still Smoke Cigarettes
When I walk into Wawa already holding my ID and I head straight to the cashier, I don't make eye-contact with the freckled worker as I ask her for the Marlboro box with the "gold label."
Please, like pretending you don't know they're called Marlboro Lights makes you look less pathetic. You can't fool them, acting like you're buying them for someone else.
I already have my ID out on the table - she scans it without looking at me. I'm 22, but I always feel like I'm 17 when I-
Always? Are you a chain-smoker? Do you purchase a pack once a week? Are you one step away from getting a tube in your neck to breathe? You're a pretentious hypochondriac.
I use my credit card because it's faster than fumbling for the correct cash. This is my hometown; the last thing I need is for the wrong person to see me buying or doing the wrong thing. Especially since I have a monopoly on this town's babysitting revenue - and what parent would hire a smoker these days?
Why are you acting like a shady criminal? Amoral and illegal are not synonymous. Did you even attend college? You rube.
I get outside without looking at anyone else, but I know that nobody recognized me in there or I would have been approached. That's the kind of person I am; approachable, sweet, charismatic, good-natured.
Fat, unattractive, stupid, undesirable, miserable, intolerable, annoying-
I can't get the package open fast enough. My heart is racing; out of excitement? Out of fear? Out of knowing that every elementary school teacher I ever had would roll in their grave if they could see me now? If they could see how their cute, intelligent, promising student could embrace such an ugly habit?
Promising? That light died not long after those elementary school days. What have you even been doing since then, just surviving? Just pretending you want to do the whole happy life routine? You've basically tripped over every life milestone you've reached; your life is fucking pathetic and you're 22.
I struggle to get the cigarette to light, chipping the polish on my thumb.
You are one obese fucking struggle. Everyone around you is thriving while you wilt; you couldn't land a job right out of college and it's been three months since graduation, but all of your friends are employed; you can't find a boyfriend or any companionship because, despite being young, you are not remotely attractive and it will only get worse with age, so your chances at love rapidly deteriorate each day; you despise being with the friends who care about you and you despise being left out of events and plans that you don't actually care about; you have only ever disappointed the people who have raised you, and now you mooch off of them even though they are drowning in debt and you can't do anything to help them, much less yourself. And if you think it will get better just because you continue living, you are a bigger fucking idiot than everyone thinks you are. You are incapable of change, of growth or happiness, and you are better off-
I hold it in. I hold the first inhale of smoke in as long as I can. I let the smoke sit inside my mouth.
And I sigh.