Yesterday I lighted my first cigarette after 14 days of quitting. What?! No, I haven’t fallen off the nicotine-free wagon completely. It is a little experiment, three and half inches to be exact. I was not under so much stress. I was not irrationally craving for that minty, (stop) menthol-ly, (stop) robust taste of the imported black and green Marlboro. The hurly burly in the shopping malls was not even enough to push me down the edge, to light a cigarette by the stairs near that caffeine peddling store and blow second-hand smoke at passers-by. No ladies and gents, I was completely calm as a Zen Buddhist who just got Oprah as a client.
Like all past repeat offenders, we all have that one moment when we think one stick won’t hurt. But we light one “harmless stick,” and bang! We’re falling down the rabbit hole like a grown-up Alice. I quit many times in the past, and often quite unsuccessfully. I quit so often that it came to a point that I only quit so I could start again. It was like abstaining from sex so you’d feel like a virgin again after a long drought. This time, I decided to take control. I chose the exact date and circumstance when I would smoke that one “harmless stick.” Yesterday was the perfect opportunity. I have passed all tests from friends. I have become the converted. After consistently refusing many offers from fellow smokers to smoke again, it was my chance to tempt myself. This time, I would play the devil and no one can play Morningstar than moi. In a way, I will make the best and most visceral of all the devils because, unlike the Biblical devil, I know exactly what is going on in this manipulative mind of mine (alliteration intended). My addiction is like a black spider creeping in the tiniest cracks, the most pointed of corners and the darkest crevices of my twisted potent mind. I know that my resident arachnid can shoot invisible web and spin it into the most convenient excuses.
So, under a phallic symbol of a mall, I bought one stick, lit it and, dear God, it was indeed nirvana-like, you know what kind...
But halfway through, I felt the spider spinning its web in my head. I relish every puff and watch the white beautiful smoke billow for the last time. I tempted myself long enough. I threw the stick and said, “I’m done.” The thrill is gone. In my head, Morningstar sat grumpily with my spider. But knowing them, they‘re just buying time. However, as long as I play the devil in my head and played the angel in the real world, I may triumph over this addiction, if you know what I mean.
P.S. The 15th day and counting...
Now, to some who might not understand this whole exercise, the first path to understanding is to admit that even you, the nicotine-free non-smoker, is suffering from some kind of addiction, except yours goes by another name, still it has eight legs, spider spider spider.
Me under the spider, Seoul, Korea (2008)