Dear Cigarettes

By Monica Danville

Dear Cigarettes,

I know that it's been over a month since we called it quits...fine, since I called it quits, but I just can't let it end like this. The years that we were together, the things that you saw me through...well, I was harsh to end it the way I did, I realize that. You deserve better. At the very least you deserve an explanation.

I just wish you could understand how I'm feeling. I mean, initially, there was a lot of anger. A LOT of anger, but once I calmed down I realized that there was no reason for it. Then there was a lot of confusion. It was like I couldn't focus on anything for more than a few seconds without my thoughts coming right back to you...the way you smell, the way you taste...the way you feel in my mouth. It distracted me so badly that for a while I just sat on the couch staring at the TV without really seeing it. After a few days of hurt and confusion, the answer finally came to me; I wasn't upset because you pleasured other people, I knew that was part of the deal going into it (and if I'm being totally honest I sort of liked that part of it), but...Goddamn it, you made me depend on you, and that's just unforgivable.

When we first started out it was a casual thing. I mean, we didn't need to see each other every day, or even more than a few times a week. Looking back on it now, that's the last time I really felt like I was in control of my life. Even now as I'm writing this to you, I think about us after dinner, or us after sex, or over coffee in the morning, and I want that back...but at the same time, I know that I can't have it. You crept into my life so Goddamn sneakily that I didn't even realize I wasn't just Monica anymore. I was Monica and Cigarettes. I just can't live that way, so totally dependent on you, so in need of you.

Those first few days I didn't think I was going to make it. I'm not trying to be melodramatic. I really felt like my heart would just stop. It's only now that I know calling it quits with you is actually saving my heart. It still hurts, and I still miss you like hell sometimes, but I feel more like me than I have in years. My head is clear, my heart is clear, and so is my conscience.

Sometimes I think about the first time I saw you remember that night? You were with Melinda then and I saw the two of you across that crowded room, lost in your own world together. People had warned me against you, and people told me that you were dangerous and no good, but I didn't care about that. I just saw you there, so amazing in the light, thin and ram-rod straight, like you just couldn't relax. It's how I always felt at parties until you came along. Maybe I fell then. Maybe it was later when we went out on the front porch and I felt you against my lips for the first time. Maybe it doesn't really matter anymore, but if it means anything to you now, I'll always remember that night. You were so damn hot...

But that's all behind us. I'm moving on and I hope you are too. (God knows you always had a lot of people hanging around you, so maybe you are.) I'm going to stay alone for awhile, I think. I mean, I tried to replace you, of course, but that was pointless...I was with Gum for a while, and Coffee too, but I realized I was just using them and it wasn't fair. That's not the person I want to be.

I'm going to wrap this up now. I know I'm rambling, but, as weird as it sounds, it feels really great to just sit and think about you like this. I didn't allow myself to do that at first, because I knew it would hurt too bad and maybe I'd come running back to you. I think I've overcome that, at least for now. I know that the yearning will be back, late some night when I can't sleep, or after I have a rough day...I'll want to just come see you and to hell with the consequences. And maybe someday it can be like that. Maybe someday we can see one another socially. Maybe we can enjoy one another's company and then go our separate ways, but that's probably not in the cards, is it? I don't want to believe it, that you would start to insinuate yourself into my life again, but I guess that's always a possibility. It's hard to imagine my life without you in it, and even now, you're still in my heart. I've got a feeling you'll be there for a while.

Take care of yourself,