I take my first drag of a cigarette in years and blow out a small amount of smoke. I take a second.
Nothing. It didn’t catch. Fuck.
I feel like I’m back in college drunk and taking an offered butt. At least in college being drunk was the excuse for taking forever to light it.
Finally, its lit.
I stand at my sink and take my time. I think of everything that I’ve been told to fear about this little stick. I think of cancer, bad breath, stained teeth, headaches, lung problems; I think of the fears pushed on us. I think of the daily billboards, commercials and concerned citizens with nosy personalities. I think of everything that can go wrong. And then, I take in another drag.
I think of the fear of being emasculated when I take the Ex her stuff. It’s not that far out of my original route, and its cheaper. I think of being suckered in by her coyness. I think of seeing her pretty face and crumbling. I think of the guy she lives with. I think of the guy’s friend who also lives there. I think of her fractured and tribal group of friends away biting at each other.
I think of how much I feared everything. How much I fear now. How much that none of it really fucking matters one bit when I look at myself.
There are things you can’t control. When hurt deeply and badly, its human instinct to get revenge. Its survival. When pained physically or emotionally, a man attacks and if he’s lucky, he’ll win. Its not easy to get over loss.
But it doesn’t have to control you. It doesn’t have to destroy you. When you let it, you fear that you’re going to die alone. That no one likes you. That you are persona non grata.
Quit fearing. Quit caring. Let the shit slide and the cool flow from every pore.
I smoked in my apartment. That’s against the contract. I used to fear their response to the punched hole in the wall. The marks. Even the dude next door who beats his wife and kids does it outside. He fears. He fears the landlords. He fears the cops who come every few weeks. I watch him from my window, finishing my smoke. He waits under the gray sky. Cold and shaking.
He has something to lose.
I have everything to look forward to.