...is going to be the next one...

Breaking up with cigarettes is like breaking up with a girl who is always ready to take you back. She follows you on the street. You see her in the most colorful pages of the magazines you read. She talks to you from between the fingers of other men. She looks so lonely over there in that ashtray, doesn't she? Somebody didn't finish her. But you're ready to take her back, aren't you? She is always, always, always ready to take YOU back.

The days after the breakup pass in a daze. You miss her. You can't stop thinking about her. You find yourself getting out of your seat for no reason at all. You are not control of yourself. You daydream about her.

It helps to keep yourself busy, but it doesn't help enough. Her voice is in your head and you find yourself dwelling more and more on how good the relationship really was with each passing day. It doesn't avail you much to force yourself to remember the pain, the hurt, the wheezing sounds in your throat, the fast heartbeat--all the horrors you went through in the relationship. You remember that, frankly, you were bored of her for many months before you broke up, that you just visited her automatically, habitually, not for passion or fun but simple comfort. But it doesn't help.

You force yourself to remember the bad times. You try to hang out with other singles but they seem weird, like somebody you were in a different life. You go online for advice and occasionally peruse pictures of destroyed lungs. Looking at these pictures, you pretend to be concerned. But you only pretend. Because as soon as you turn off the Internet Explorer, you remember the cool windswept beach, the dark city night, the fast rollin' car, the lonely dark room full of tears, the mushroom trip in the desert--all the times when you were happy or sad, manic or depressed or elated or angry or confused or adventerous, and yes, the Times of Great Possibility, too, when your life opened up like a flower tasting the sun--and you remember that She was there, and she Helped you and Soothed you and Gave you something to Do. You remember how she caressed your dry lips with her smoke that was so hot it seemed fluid. You remember that she never asked for anything in return, she only gave and gave and gave as long as you let her stick around. Trapped in the world of memories.

And you begin to feel remorseful. In your mind nothing but good times are cropping up. The more desperately you try to forget her the more you see nothing bad about her.

And then you think to yourself: "I love her, I really do". And you rush out the door.

And somewhere within ten blocks of your home, she is waiting for you with open arms, the arms she always keeps open for you, always, even unto death.

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