I started smoking after I was committed to a mental asylum because I stopped caring; the world around me was already in flames.

When I was a child, when I still had a sister who used to wrap her arms around me, I remembered the way she smelled when she gave me those hugs: a comfortable mix of Marlboro’s and CK One perfume. How she used to take me on drives when she visited and she would buy cartons from the Indian Reservations, to save money on what I later in life realized was quite an expensive habit.

She always seemed so glamorous to me, with her bleached hair, tiny designer handbags and the cigarettes she would smoke out of her rental Cadillac’s windows, the sky a bruised pink and purple sunset with golden puffed up clouds trailing past.

Smoking did not seem to be so bad of an addiction.

Less than the powders and herbs, no dangers from syringes, accepted by society. Legal, even. An excuse to get away from the closed in world for brief moments, or nihilistically polluting the air on nights out with your mates when you were already trashed. The only light coming from a borrowed cigarette, the smoke rings making your own clouds. That feeling of pure and utter freedom when you would take a break, sweaty and shaking, from the punk rock/metal/goth clubs, maybe already high, or drunk. A cigarette would be something else to just consume. And is that not the point of a capitalist society?

I lost my best friend, at the age I am now, three years ago. An accidental overdose from consuming too much. I lost my sister not long after that: I felt the demons who stretched their ragged wings across my cranium reflected too much the monsters who tortured her own soul.

When you have already lost friends and family, when you’re already anxious and wide eyed and scared, when you’re too broke or ill or depressed to try and live what is one more addiction? What is one more thing to pass the time, to consume?  

You see Donald Trump winning the elections. You see brexit and effigies and formerly glorious rainbow flags burning. You see the racism and sexism and hate all around you. Graffiti screaming to “Make America White Again” as if that would somehow make it great. You fear a second Holocaust. Your friends are dropping like dead flies trapped in nectar: you are no longer sure you know who to trust. You read books to escape.

“What time are we upon, and where do I belong?” the text asks you. You wonder at the question. You feel yourself starting to unravel like a ball of knitting yarn, a light pinkish red  like the shade of intestines, of blood. You see the scars on your partner’s arms, his chest and are afraid; how to save him if you are barely sure you can help yourself? Can anyone truly be saved? 

“What time are we upon, and where do I belong?”

You think of the ending of Heathers, Christian Slater with the bombs all strapped to his chest. Winona Ryder waiting as he pushes the trigger, taking out a cigarette that hovers delicately like a butterfly between her lips, right before the explosion.


3 Responses to “Smoking”

  1. Enjoyed reading the post. I felt it captured the essence of being
    young, trying to find a spiritual self in a materialistic world. Not an
    easy task, but one worth pursuing.

  2. Austin Branstetter Says:

    Having Bipolar, going through deep depressions and absolute insanities, I hope you’re finding real comfort in your writings. I know writing is the only thing that helps me cope.

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