I could barely concentrate on my studies during the day for the rest of the week; each day my thoughts were preoccupied with getting home and trying again. I wanted to understand what it meant to be a smoker. I wanted it more that anything I had ever wanted before. Each night I would run home after classes and quickly make and eat dinner, anticipating the next step. Throughout the course of that week I experimented with another cigarette or two each night, although I was still not eager to repeat the events following my first attempt at inhaling, so I approached my experimentation very slowly.
By Friday night I had acquired an ashtray, and I smoked two full cigarettes without inhaling that evening. On Saturday, I smoked three full cigarettes without inhaling. At this point I was becoming accustomed to the pleasurable acquired taste of cigarette smoke in my mouth, but was still fully enraptured by the mind-blowing site of a cigarette burning in my hand. The lingering aroma of cigarette smoke in the air of my apartment was also quickly becoming a delightful counterpoint to the Anais Anais perfume that I wore at the time.
But this was all mere prelude to the Grand Initiation yet to come.
When I awoke on Sunday, I got up and examined what was still my first pack of cigarettes, and realized that I had smoked well over half of it already. The thought that it was my pack of cigarettes amused me to no end, by the way, and I had already experienced several uncontrollable giggling fits that week at the thought that I actually owned my own pack of cigarettes!
I made some tea and decided that, based on what I now recognize was my first faint craving, I wanted to try my first morning cigarette, so I sat down at the kitchen table with my tea, cigarettes, lighter, and new ashtray, and went through the new smoker's deliberate routine of carefully lighting up.
I will forever remember the beauty of the moments that came to me then, in the midst of the sun streaming in through the kitchen window on me and the smoke from that Very Special Cigarette dancing in luminescent swirls all around me. And I will forever remember how my world changed that day.
After taking two or three of my usual thick uninhaled puffs, my Virginia Slims menthol 120 was burning very steadily, and I was about to blow out another thick uninhaled puff when fate interrupted in the form of a church bell suddenly and very loudly ringing a block from my apartment. The sound startled me to the extent that I unexpectedly and fully inhaled the large puff of smoke that I had planned to quickly blow back out instead. Instantly, I knew what had happened, and was shocked beyond belief at the realization that the newfound sensation I was experiencing was the feeling of my fully expanded lungs completely accepting a thick cloud of cigarette smoke within them for the first time.
The flow of time completely stopped for me at that moment. And it only resumed when I realized that in spite of what I had just done, there wasn't going to be coughing, distress, or bodily revolt of any kind.
Still in a state of shock, I slowly began to exhale through pursed lips like I had seen other smokers do countless times before, and watched in utter stunned disbelief as the long, thin plume of the smoke that had just penetrated the depths of my respiratory tract spread out in the warm sunlit air in front of me. The church bell continued to toll in the still autumn air, now becoming the sound of my own very private and intimate Transfiguration. I felt myself falling, and falling, and falling, the platform of the pedestal that I had allowed myself to be placed on by the expectations of so many others now receding into the distance high above me.
It was as if my life up to that moment was bound by a thousand miles of silk rope, and all it took was that first moment when I felt the warm, soft resistance of cigarette smoke within my lungs to unravel every last strand, and to leave me completely naked to the fulfillment of Longing, and Hunger, and Desire, like I had never known any of them before.
I sat there staring at the cigarette in my hand in front of me until the tolling of the bell stopped, and felt my heart pounding with Nicotine coursing through my veins and the Sublime Realization that THIS was The Moment when I had actually become a Cigarette Smoker. I had actually reached beyond all fear, all repression, all prohibition, and accepted the Freedom of knowing that, like my lungs, I could somehow never be truly "clean" again. In that moment, I exchanged something of my Psychological Virginity for the fullest Sensual Pleasure and "Deflowering" of a Virginia Slims. In that moment, I understood what it meant to be "Dirty", to be a Bad Girl, to give yourself over fully to Dangerous Pleasures that "Good Girls" aren't supposed to partake of.
Snow White died on the last Sunday of October, 1985. I killed her with a single flame, a single slim 120 mm cylinder of tobacco and paper, and a single breath. I smiled, raised the cigarette to my lips, took another long drag, inhaled deeply, and never looked back. And I never let the Ghost of Snow White trouble me again.
I eventually came to recognize that there was no feeling quite so Erotic for me as the one that came with the realization that I had become someone that I wasn't supposed to be.
Responses are not allowed!