Never Forgets

(by Gray Haze, 04 July 2007)


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Never Forgets
By Gray Haze

Pam kissed her husband Bill goodbye as she held her newborn baby gently in
her arms.  It'd been a week since the baby was born and this was Bill's first
day back to work after taking some vacation to be with Pam and the baby.  For
the next two hours Pam sat quietly watching the baby.  Being a new mother she
was still amazed at this tiny bundle of life being held in her arms.  Finally
at 9:30, just after being breast fed, the baby fell asleep  

Pam then took the baby up to her room and carefully put her into her crib.
After placing a blanket over her, she headed downstairs to the kitchen,
poured herself a cup of coffee and stood for a moment with one hand on the
kitchen counter and the other holding the cup.  She stood nervously,
strumming her fingers, while she tried to decide what to do next.  Finally,
with great reluctance, she opened the drawer just under the kitchen counter
and pulled out an unopened pack of Newport's and a lighter.

Pam walked over to the kitchen table and sat down just after placing the cup
of coffee and cigarettes down on the table in front of her.  She took a sip
of coffee and then grabbed the pack of Newport's.  Pam could feel the
tightness in her stomach as she nervously removed the wrapper off the pack.
It had been seven months since her last cigarette.  She quit with
extraordinary difficulty when she became pregnant.  She never thought she
could do it and she took great pride in the fact that she had.  For the first
time in many years, she starting thinking of herself as a non-smoker and
thought she had kicked the habit for good.  

Pam then extracted one of the cigarettes from the pack and held it between
her fingers.  It was something that she had done hundreds of thousands of
times before in the past.  It felt like a long lost friend as it sat nestled
between her fingers.  Her heart desperately wanted her to take the next step
and place it between her lips and light it.  Her lungs were eagerly awaiting
the incredible pleasure that they would received from the rich mentholated
smoke.  And yet, her brain was begging her not to.  It was telling her that
she had struggled so hard to quit, and that if she lit that cigarette, she
would never quit again.  

After a minute of looking at the unlit cigarette between her fingers, she put
the cigarette down on the table, took another sip of coffee and started
thinking about her past life as a smoker.

****************

Pam grew up in a household of smokers.  Her parents, grandparents, aunts and
uncles all smoked.  To a small child, it seemed to be an integral part of
their lives,something they all seemed to enjoy immensely.  At the age of six,
after hearing from her teacher how bad smoking was, Pam decided to ask her
mother why she smoked.  

"Your teacher is right, smoking is bad for you and you should never take it
up," her mother answered the young Pam's question.

"But why do you smoke if it's so bad?" 

"Well it is kind of hard to explain," her mother answered while looking at
the cigarette burning between her fingers.  "I guess it is because I enjoy
smoking so much."

"If it is going to harm you, why don't you stop?" Pam asked with interest.

"Smoking is very hard to quit once you start.  It's kind of like eating ice
cream.  Ice cream can make you fat, and yet you eat it because you like it.
Smoking is kind of the same way I guess.  Smoking is bad for your health, but
we adults smoke because we like to."

Those answer made sense to the young Pam, and it sparked her first interest
in smoking.  All the adults that she loved were smokers, and they smoked
because they liked to.  Anything that her teacher or subsequent teachers said
about smoking just didn't make any kind of impression on Pam.  

She first started thinking seriously about trying smoking when she was nine.
Her sister Peggy, who was sixteen at the time, had just started smoking in
front of her mother and father.  She watched Peggy smoke in front of her for
the first time, just after Dad lit her cigarette after dinner one night.
Peggy looked so happy and adult-like smoking, and Mom and Dad didn't seem to
mind one bit.  They all seemed so happy and relaxed sharing their after
dinner cigarettes together.  Pam wished she could have joined in with them.

But what finally got Pam to decide that she definitely wanted to try smoking
was two years later when her sister Patty, who was fifteen, started to smoke.
If both of her older sisters were allowed to smoke, why wouldn't she be able
to as well.

So one evening, near the end of her fifth grade year, Patty finally got the
nerve up to ask her sister Peggy if she could try smoking.  At first Peggy
told Pam that she was too young to smoke, and that mom would kill her if she
started at such a young age.  But Pam was persistent, so finally Peggy
relented.  Peggy figured that Pam would never want to smoke again once she
coughed up a lung after the smoke hit her underdeveloped lungs for the first
time.  But much to Peggy's surprise, Pam didn't gag on her first cigarette.
To the contrary, Pam handled it with no problem.  

Once Pam got her first taste of cigarettes, she liked it immediately.  She
wanted to smoke more so she continued to pester Peggy to allow her to smoke
an occasional cigarette with her.  Peggy was reluctant, but she always backed
down.  Soon, Pam was smoking every day with Peggy.  Peggy was learning to
like sharing a smoke with her tiny, 85 pound little sister and would often
ask Pam to come into her room and share one with her.  The two became much
closer as a result.

Peggy also took this opportunity to teach Pam all the finer tricks to
maximize the smoking pleasure.  Before long, Pam was taking large puffs and
deep inhales just like an adult.  Pam loved the feeling of large quantities
of smoke hitting her lungs, and thrilled at the sight of all the smoke
exiting her mouth.  Peggy also introduced Pam to different brands of
cigarettes.  Peggy smoked Marlboro Lights, which Pam liked.  But after she
tried her first Newport, she never wanted to smoke anything else.  She fell
in love with the powerful smoke from the full flavor menthol cigarette, and
decided that it was going to be her brand.  Peggy began buying her those
cigarettes as a result, and now Pam had a ready supply of cigarettes of her
own.

During the summer between fifth and sixth grade, Pam started smoking more and
more.  Her parents both worked, so she was able to smoke during the day with
no restrictions.  Now that she carried her own pack, she also began to smoke
by herself.  She also started smoking with her sister Patty as well, and by
the end of that summer she was smoking about a half pack a day.

When sixth grade started, Pam was about to discover something else as well.
While sitting through her first day of class, she started to feel her first
real craving.  She wasn't sure why she felt that way, but she knew that she
wanted a cigarette very badly.  When she got home after school, she
immediately lit up, and felt the incredible relief that smoking gave her from
the day long craving.  Peggy had told Pam that if she kept smoking, she would
get hooked someday soon.  Pam didn't really know what she meant until after
that first day of school.

Soon, Pam started taking her cigarettes to school with her.  At first, she
would have one only during lunch when she had an opportunity to sneak away
for ten minutes.  But as the year went on, she got bolder and bolder, and was
soon smoking any chance she got.  

Finally, in January, Pam got caught smoking at school.  As a result, the
school called Pam's parents to inform them of Pam's smoking.  At first, Pam
didn't think that her parents would mind so much.  After all, Peggy and Patty
smoked in front of them, so why would they care if she did as well.  But
Pam's parents thought differently.  To them she was far too young to smoke,
and they demanded that she stop.

But Pam was defiant, and refused to stop.  For five months Pam and her
parents battled over her smoking.  They tried everything, from grounding her,
to taking away privileges.  Nothing worked as Pam continued to smoke.  With
both parents working, Pam had plenty of opportunities and she took advantage
of them all.  By spring, after being caught numerous times and being totally
grounded, Pam stopped even trying to hide it from them.  She would often
times smoke in her room and leave her ashtray out for her parents to see just
to make them mad.

The real reason punishment didn't work with Pam though, was that she was a
gifted student.  Her real passion was spending hours reading and studying.
She really didn't hang out that often with her friends or have any other
activity that her parents could take away.  So no matter what they did, Pam
didn't care.  To her, she wasn't losing much anyways, and she liked smoking
too much to give it up.

Finally, after being thoroughly yelled at by her father one night, Pam
decided that she had enough.  "Fine, you've taken everything else away from
me, I guess I'll stop studying and reading as well."  Pam knew that her
parents took great pride in her academic performance, and now Pam was going
to use that knowledge as weapon to get her parents to finally relent on the
smoking.

So for three weeks, Pam hung around and watched TV instead.  She didn't do
any homework or read any books.  Her parents were shocked when Pam came home
one day and proudly showed them her math test, with a 63% written on the top.
Pam had never gotten anything but A's before that.  When her parents tried to
get her to start studying again, Pam would just say, "Hey, Peggy and Patty
hardly ever study and you don't seem to care.  In fact, they don't study and
you let them smoke."  

One Saturday morning, Pam's mother went into Pam's room and asked her if she
wanted to go to the mall shopping with her.  Pam had just snuck a morning
cigarette before she came in, and her mother noticed the lingering haze of
smoke immediately.  But instead of yelling at her, she said nothing about it.
Instead she asked Pam if she would like to go shopping with her.  Pam
initially said no, but her mother insisted.  "It will be fun, you'll see." 

The two left at 10 am and got to the mall twenty minutes later.  They shopped
for an hour and a half and then went to a restaurant for lunch.  Once seated
in the smoking section, her mother immediately lit a cigarette.  While
smoking, she started talking with Pam.

"Honey, your father and I have been very concerned about your school work
lately.  You have been such a good student for so long, we don't understand
why you would want to throw away a bright future like this."

"Mom, I just don't care anymore," Pam said defiantly.  "My life has been so
miserable lately, that I just don't want to study anymore."

"I know honey, your father and I have been a little hard on you lately," her
mother said as she paused to take a puff.  "It is just that you are so young
and we don't want you to smoke, and we have been trying to get you to stop."

"Well mom, I'm not going to," Pam said angrily.  "So go ahead and punish and
yell at me all you want.  I like smoking way too much to quit."

"But honey, don't you know how bad smoking is for you," her mother said as
she flicked an ash from her cigarette.  "My god, your grandmother just died
four years ago from lung cancer which was caused from smoking cigarettes."

"It doesn't seem to deter you from smoking," Pam snapped back while pointing
at her mother's cigarette.

"I know I should quit, but it is really hard," her mother answered with
embarrassment while extinguishing her cigarette in the ashtray.  "I've been
smoking for so long and I am really hooked."

"I'm hooked too, mom.  I've been smoking every day now for about a year, and
I have trouble going long periods without a cigarette.  But I don't care,
because I really love to smoke and really want to continue."

Hearing her daughter talk like this convinced Pam's mother that she was
fighting a losing cause.  Her daughter had a stubborn streak just like she
did.  She and Pam's father had been talking about the losing cause and what
to do about it.  Pam's father wanted to continue to battle it, but she was
starting to worry about what it was doing to Pam.  Pam was such a well
behaved girl.  She got great grades and studied very hard.  Other than the
smoking, she was the perfect child.  She now wanted to end this futile
standoff and get the old Pam back.  This past week she had finally convinced
her husband of the harm this was starting to do to Pam, and he agreed that it
was finally time to lay off her.  Today, she just wanted one last chance to
try to get Pam to quit, and now she realized it wasn't going to happen.

The two sat quietly for a minute until the waitress came to take their order.
They both ordered cheese burgers and a Coke with her mother asking for a
salad as well.  When the waitress left, Pam's mother grabbed her Salem's and
started talking.

"Pam, your father and I have been talking the last few days," Pam's mom said
as she extracted a cigarette.  "We really want things to get back to normal
again.  We are tired of the fighting."

"Believe me, so am I mom.  But I'm not quitting smoking!"

"I know honey," her mother said as she pushed the pack of Salem's toward Pam.
"As long as you promise to start reading and studying again, we have decided
to let you smoke."

"Really, mom?" Pam said as she grabbed the pack.  "Oh thank you, I promise, I
will study hard."

Pam extracted a cigarette from the pack while her mother lit her own.  Then
her mother extended the lighter toward the 12 year old Pam, who eagerly
accepted the light.  The two sat quietly smoking while Pam's mom marveled at
Pam's style.

"You know Pam, you look like a veteran smoker of many years.  You certainly
are no beginner, that's for sure.  You take very long puffs and deep inhales,
just like I do.  I can tell just by watching you that you are really hooked
on smoking."

"Yeah, I guess I really needed this," she responded after exhaling a huge
cloud toward the ceiling.  "A cigarette really tastes so good after a few
hours of going without."

"Yes it does, Pam.  In fact, most cigarettes taste good.  It really is an
enjoyable habit."

"Mom, I've wanted to smoke for as long as I can remember," Pam answered as
she lifted her cigarette toward her face for another puff.  "I have to admit,
it is even better than I ever dreamed it would be.  I just love the way they
make me feel inside."

"You know, I didn't get angry at your sisters when they started, because I
knew how great smoking was and was kind of glad that they found it enjoyable
as well," her mother said with a smile.  "If you had waited three or four
more years, I think you would have found your father and me much more
receptive.  But now that you are smoking, I'm glad that you enjoy it.  I'm
sure in the future we will be spending many hours enjoying a smoke together."

The two ate lunch, smoked two more after lunch and then did another hour of
shopping.  They then left for home, both lighting up as they left the mall.
On the way home, they stopped at the local convenience store to buy
cigarettes.  It was there that, much to her surprise, Pam got her first
carton of Newport's.  "Anytime you need more, just tell me," her mother said
as she handed her the carton.  It was her mother's way of making it official,
that Pam was now a smoker with her full support.  That night after dinner,
Pam joined her parents and her sisters in enjoying an after dinner cigarette.
"Well, I guess it is official now, the entire family has fell into the grips
of smoking," her father said at the dinner table after he lit Pam's
cigarette.

Now able to smoke freely, Pam's smoking started to take off.  She loved to
smoke and she lit up whenever she felt like it.  She particularly liked
smoking while reading and studying.  It seemed to help her concentrate more.
Once school was over, she was able to spend the summer smoking, without
having to worry about classes.  She used the summer to continue to increase
her consumption.  She was finding that the more she smoked, the more she
liked it.  Her cravings were also stronger now, which made feeding them all
the more enjoyable.  By the end of summer, much to her mother's despair, she
asked her for another carton of cigarettes one week after her mother had just
bought her one.  

Pam found more opportunities to smoke in junior high school than in grade
school, and she took advantage of everyone one of them.  When she got caught,
she was forced to do detention, but she didn't mind.  It was worth risking
detention so that she could feed her growing cravings.  By the end of middle
school, Pam was a two pack a day smoker, and she loved it more than ever.

Pam's grades throughout school were impeccable.  She studied constantly and
really didn't have much of a social life.  She rarely dated and spent most of
her time either studying or talking on the phone.  She found smoking a great
compliment to both activities.  In high school she kept smoking more and
more.  By the time she was sixteen, she was lighting up every 15 - 20 minutes
and habit reached the three pack a day level.  Her mother was getting
concerned about her ravenous habit, and urged her to cut back some, but it
fell on deaf ears.   Pam was smoking whenever she wanted to, and she really
didn't care how much she smoked.  She enjoyed smoking and wanted to do it as
often as possible.

During her senior year, she started searching for a college to attend.  Her
SAT scores were really high, and she pretty much could go wherever she wanted
to.  She decided that she wanted to take Civil Engineering.  During her
search, it wasn't only academic excellence that she was looking for, it was a
college that allowed smoking in their dormitories as well.  It was 1990, and
more and more colleges banned smoking in their buildings.  That ruled out
MIT, Cornell and Purdue three top flight engineering schools.  Instead she
settled on Lehigh University in Pennsylvania.  It was a very good school, but
not at the same level as the others.  But Pam didn't care, because Lehigh
still had smoking dorms.

Near the end of her senior year in high school, it was becoming apparent that
Pam was going to be class valedictorian.  Pam was an unapologetic smoker, and
everyone at school knew she smoked.  The school administration was concerned
that having Pam as valedictorian would set a bad example and they tried to
keep it from happening.  But Pam's parents threatened to sue, and they
relented.  Much to their dismay, Pam smoked freely and openly during the
outdoor graduation practice.  During her valedictory speech she mentioned
smoking with friends as her fondest memory of school, much to the shock of
all her teachers.  After the ceremony was over, the school's officials were
downright distraught having to pose for pictures with Pam while she held a
lit cigarette in her hand.

By the time college started, Pam's habit had reached four packs per day.  She
smoked so much in her dorm room that she went through three roommates during
the year, and they were all smokers.  So the next year she decided to get her
own room even though it cost more money.  With all her scholarships, she
didn't have to pay much anyway, so it was worth the extra cost.  She was now
starting to date more often.  Most of the men got sick of her constant
smoking though, and none of them lasted very long, but she didn't care. She
did enjoy an occasional one night stand, and found boyfriends cut too much
into her study time anyway.  

Finally, during her junior year, she met the man of her dreams.  His name was
Bill Clooney, and they soon fell in love.  Bill didn't smoke, but he never
seemed to mind that Pam did.  Never once while they dated did he complain.
He was always quick with a light, and once told Pam that it kind of turned
him on when she smoked.  He was an engineering student as well, and the two
enjoyed studying together.  They dated the last two years of college, and
once both had graduated and found jobs, they decided to get married a year
after graduation.

Pam was a Civil Engineer and found a good job with a large construction firm.
She liked the job because she worked mostly outdoors and in construction
trailers, which allowed her to smoke freely throughout the day.  And smoke
she did.  With no classes to restrict her, she was soon up to five packs a
day, lighting up every ten minutes or so.  The blue collar construction
workers that reported to her took a liking to this little 105 pound chain
smoking engineer.  She loved working with them and they liked her a lot.  She
was in many ways just like them.  But she was a brilliant engineer and was
highly respected throughout the organization.  She loved her job and planned
on making it her career.  Bill and her didn't discuss having children much,
and decided to wait for some time to start a family.  Pam wanted to get her
career moving first.

Her heavy smoking didn't come without a cost.  Pam had started smoking before
her lungs were fully developed, which stunted their growth.  She started to
get a morning cough when she was 13 and it got worse as the years passed.
Soon she developed a persistent smoker's cough throughout the day.  By
college she was starting to experience shortness of breath when doing
anything strenuous.  By the time she was 27, she was having difficulty with
catching her breath while even climbing a steep hill or a flight of stares.
But through all this, she still smoked incessantly.  

She was also getting bronchitis and other lung infections a lot during her
twenty's.  When she was 28, her doctor informed her that after treating
bronchitis 5 times in 6 years that it was apparent that her smoking was doing
considerable damage to her lungs.  He told her that if she didn't quit
smoking soon, things could get much worse for her.  And yet, she lit up the
moment she left the doctor's office, like nothing happened.  She loved her
cigarettes, and wasn't going to stop for anything.

Pam unexpectedly became pregnant when she was 29.  Her and Bill hadn't
planned on starting a family until they were in the 30's, but hey, stuff
happens.  An appointment with an OBGYN confirmed that she was two months
pregnant.  During that appointment, the doctor told Pam that she must stop
smoking for the sake of the baby.  At first, Pam didn't pay any attention and
lit up as soon as she left the doctors office.  But later that day, as Pam
chained through one cigarette after another, she started to feel guilty.  It
was one thing to harm herself with smoking, it was another thing to harm her
baby.

For the next week, she battled herself over the whole smoking issue.  She was
dreadfully afraid of life without her beloved cigarettes.  In addition, she
was so addicted, that she didn't think that she could quit.  She hadn't gone
an hour, let alone a day without smoking now for 18 years.  But her motherly
instincts took over, and she decided to at least try.

Quitting day was fast approaching, and it was coming much too soon for Pam.
Because she knew it was going to be tough, she decided to take a leave from
work for the remainder of her pregnancy.  She didn't want to be at work
around all the smokers.  Plus, she wasn't feeling well, and she wanted the
time off.  

The night before her quitting day, she talked to Bill about what lies ahead.

"I plan on quitting smoking tomorrow," Pam told Bill through a talking
exhale.

"You plan on what?" Bill replied, with surprise.  "I don't get it ,why?"

"My OBGYN told me that I needed to for the baby. It's funny, all those years
of looking at the warning on the side of a cigarette pack, about smoking and
pregnancy, and I never really thought much about it."

"Well good for you," Bill said as he looked at Pam's beautiful face.  "If
there is anything I can do to help, please ask."

"I wish there was something magical you could do to make it easy for me to
stop, but I'm afraid there isn't.  I've been such a heavy smoker for so long,
I'm dreadfully afraid of facing life without my cigarettes," Pam said while
crushing out her spent butt.  

"Yeah, they certainly are a big part of who you are.  You seem to have a
cigarette in your hand more times than not.  I can't even picture you not
smoking."

"One of the reasons I love and respect you for is that you have never once
complained about my smoking," Pam said.  "In fact, in the nine years that I
have known you, we have never talked once about my smoking."

"Well, being a smoker is part of who you are.  I have always loved you for
who you are, so why would I complain," Bill said as he placed his arm around
Pam.  "As far as talking about your smoking, I figured if you wanted to, you
would have brought it up."

"I never told you that I was eleven when I started," Pam said as she
extracted a cigarette out of her pack.

"Oh my god, you were just a little girl," Bill responded as he lit Pam's
cigarette for her.  "And your parents let you smoke at that age?"

"They tried like hell to get me to stop, but I was so stubborn, and we
battled for so long, they finally gave in," Pam said with a laugh.  "Once I
was free to smoke, I just started smoking a lot.  I was smoking 2 packs a day
by the time I was 14 and three packs a day by the time I reached 16.  I was
up to four packs a day by the time I went to college, and since I've started
working I've been smoking five packs a day."

"So you have been a very heavy smoker for a long time," Bill said with
surprise.  

"Yes, too long I'm afraid.  Yesterday, I was thinking about my smoking, and I
started doing some math," Pam said as she paused to take another puff.

"Well, that's the engineer in you, Pam," Bill said, laughing.  "You always
break everything down into a math problem."

"I calculated that in the 18 years that I have smoked, I have smoked
somewhere between 450,000 and 500,000 cigarettes.  Most people don't even
smoke that many in a lifetime, and I have done it before my 30th birthday,"
Pam continued while her cigarette smoldered next to her face.  "I figure I
take approximately 10 puffs per cigarette, so in my life time, I have inhaled
a mouth full of smoke about 5 million times."

"Wow, it's hard to imagine doing any one thing that many times," Bill added.

"I inhale this wonderful smoke 1000 times a day, and all of the sudden I'm
going to stop," Pam said in a depressed manner.  "That is why I'm so scared
that I can't.  Smoking is so ingrained into me, that I can't imagine not
doing it."

"Well, if you can quit for only seven months, that would be a good thing for
the baby," Bill said with sympathy.  "Then, once the baby is born, you can
start smoking again.  Knowing that you can one day smoke again will give you
something to look forward to and might help stopping easier."

That night, Pam smoked the last of her cigarettes, just prior to going to
bed.  The next morning, she awoke to her normal morning cough.  It was really
bad, as usual.  But, not being able to smoke, Pam had no way to sooth her
coughing lungs with smoke.  Her body was also screaming for nicotine.  Within
hours, Pam was in desperate shape as she suffered through terrible
withdrawal.  It was even worse than she thought it would be, and she nearly
hopped in the car to buy cigarettes several times during the day.  But Pam
was stubborn, and managed to hang on for the remainder of the day without
smoking.  The next day was no better, and it took every ounce of her will
power not to go buy cigarettes.  

But Pam resisted the urges to smoke, and within a week the cravings finally
started to calm down.  Once that big hurdle was successfully passed, she
thought quitting would get easier.  But it wasn't only the cravings which
made her want to smoke.  She was also psychologically addicted as well.  Her
strong desire to smoke did not go away for over a month.  It was the worst
month of her life and several times she almost broke down.

During that first month, her cough started to subside some, but not much.
Her badly damaged, tar soaked lungs were slow to heal.  Even after one month
of not smoking, she was still coughing up brown phlegm.  

Her second month of not smoking was a little easier than the first.  She
still thought about smoking all the time, but was starting to learn to live
with out her cigs.  Her cough was also noticeably subsiding as well.  She was
also noticing that her shortness of breath that she once got while doing even
simple things like climbing stairs was no longer as much of a problem.
Another benefit was how much better food tasted and how much better things
smelled without the constant haze of smoke surrounding her.  She also liked
the fact that she could now go to the movie theater with Bill, without
spending two hours dying for a cigarette.  In fact, Bill and Pam rarely if
ever went anywhere where smoking wasn't allowed prior to now.  

During her third month without smoking Pam started to enjoy life as a
non-smoker.  She no longer constantly thought about having a cigarette, and
was enjoying the improved health that she was slowly getting back.  She no
longer coughed much anymore, and she wasn't losing her breath after physical
exertion.  Although she still wanted to smoke and missed it very much, she
was finding other things to take its place.  With a lot of free time, she
started doing different hobbies and even planted a small vegetable garden in
the back yard.  

The thought of smoking was almost gone completely during her fourth month of
not smoking.  Before this, Pam always looked forward to smoking again.  But
now she was starting to think that maybe she wouldn't.  Her health was
noticeably improved now.  This improvement made her think about how damaging
smoking was to her health.  And with a baby coming, she was wondering if she
started smoking again, would she be around long enough to see her future
grandchildren.

Her parents were thrilled that Pam had stopped smoking.  They both were
always worried about her incessant smoking and what it would do for her
health.  They visited Pam a lot during her pregnancy, and both were very
supportive of her quitting.  Although they both still smoked themselves, they
refrained from smoking when they were around her, so that she wouldn't be
tempted.  Bill was happy for Pam as well.  The first couple of months around
Pam was a living hell for him, but now, four months later, she was much more
like the Pam of old, except without the haze of tobacco smoke around her.

During the fifth and sixth months of not smoking, Pam finally came to the
conclusion that she would remain smoke free after the baby was born.
Although she still missed smoking, she was learning to enjoy life without it.
Now, eight months pregnant, she told Bill for the first time that she was
planning not to start smoking again.  Bill was happy, but made sure that he
told Pam that whatever she did, he would love and support her.

With four weeks left before the baby arrived, Pam's sister Peggy flew in from
Chicago to visit the family.  Peggy stayed with her parents, but came over
soon after arriving to visit Pam.  It wasn't long after arriving that Peggy
lit up one of her Marlboro Light's in front of Pam.  During the day Peggy lit
up often while the two visited.  At first, it did not bother Pam, but soon,
after watching Peggy enjoy her cigarettes, Pam started to long for one
herself.  It was like the smell triggered something in the back of Pam's
brain.  During the next few days, Peggy visited often, and each cigarette
that Peggy smoked caused Pam to want to smoke one again more and more.  Pam
almost asked Peggy for a cigarette, but managed to stop herself.

A week later, while relaxing in the park, Pam saw a young couple sitting on a
blanket.  She then noticed the young girl pulling out a pack of Newports.
She watched intently as her gentlemen friend lit her cigarette up.  The
pleasure on the girl's face as she exhaled a cloud of smoke, accentuated by
the sunlight, made it obvious to Pam that she loved to smoke.  Each puff that
she took made Pam long for the feeling of the wonderful smoke from the
Newport hitting her own lungs.  After the girl put her cigarette out, Pam
waited patiently for her to light up again.  Anybody who loves smoking as
much as that girl obviously did would light up another one soon after she put
her last one out.  But this girl didn't.  It was an hour before she lit up
again.  This made Pam think.  Maybe Pam's problem wasn't smoking, but smoking
too much.  She started thinking about starting again as soon as the baby was
born.  But this time, she would smoke much less, maybe only a pack a day.
That way she would get to enjoy smoking again without all the health problems
that was caused by her old five pack a day habit.

Finally, one week before the baby was born she decided to buy another pack of
Newport's.  She didn't smoke them, instead she just put the pack into the
junk drawer in the kitchen.  But the thought of lighting up consumed her
while awaiting the arrival of the baby.

After the baby was born, Pam and Bill enjoyed the week together with the new
little bundle of joy.  Several times, Pam was tempted to get her pack out and
have a cigarette, but she was a little embarrassed after telling Bill that
she wasn't going to smoke again.  Now with Bill gone to work, Pam couldn't
resist any longer.

*******************

Pam was still mesmerized, after spending the better part of a half hour
thinking about smoking.  The cigarette still lay  there silently on the table
in front of her.  Her heart was still telling her to light it.  Her lungs
were still eagerly awaiting the wonderful full flavor mentholated smoke.  Her
brain though, was slowly losing it's will to the powerful temptation that lay
before her.

Tears started flowing down Pam's cheek as she slowly lifted the cigarette off
the table.  She then placed it between her lips, as she grabbed the lighter
with the other hand.  Shaking noticeably, she lit the lighter and held it in
front of her face for at least ten seconds as her brain tried once more to
stop her.  Finally, she slowly moved the lighter to the tip of the cigarette,
and drew gently on the filter as smoke entered her mouth.  Once lit, she
removed the cigarette and slowly inhaled the smoke into her eagerly awaiting
lungs.  She held it in, as the nicotine slammed into her brain.  The feeling
of euphoria was over powering as she slowly exhaled.  

Not satisfied, Pam immediately lifted the cigarette to her mouth, and took a
powerful, cheek hollowing five second drag, followed by a huge deep inhale.
She held it in for five seconds and then reluctantly slowly exhaled.

"Oh my god," Pam thought to herself as her brain was feeling the powerful
effect of nicotine hit it. "This is sooooo fucking good."

Pam stopped sobbing as she continued to smoke this cigarette deeply.  It was
like she found an old lost friend.  Each puff was better than the last.  She
now knew that she was going to be a smoker again.  This cigarette was far too
good not to be.  She missed it too much.  But she wanted to be a different
smoker.  No more chaining five packs a day.  She was going to become a smoker
of moderation.  She knew how bad smoking was and how her old habit was
killing her.  No, this time, she was going to be a light smoker.  No more
than a pack a day.  While smoking that cigarette, Pam was convinced of that.

After ten large puffs, the cigarette was spent.  Pam smiled as she
extinguished it in the ashtray.  She was happy with her decision.  She then
sat quietly for the next few minutes while she enjoyed the euphoria that was
slowly dissipating.  Now with the feeling almost gone, she got up and poured
herself another cup of coffee. 

Five minutes after she put her cigarette out, she started to feel different.
As she sat quietly enjoying her coffee, an old feeling was returning.  It was
another old friend that she knew so well.  That feeling got stronger with
every passing minute.  After ten minutes that feeling became uncomfortable as
Pam looked on horrified at the pack sitting in front of her.  That feeling
made her want another cigarette, but Pam resisted.  She wasn't going to smoke
that way again.  

Fifteen minutes after she put the cigarette out, she was feeling worse.  Her
mind was starting to wander as she now could only think about smoking again.
But again, Pam resisted.  She wasn't going to smoke that way again.

Twenty minutes after she put the cigarette out, she was feeling frantic.  Her
craving was powerful, and it took every bit of will power not to light
another cigarette.  Her hands were starting to shake now, and she was
starting to feel somewhat sick.

Twenty five minutes after she put the last cigarette out, she couldn't take
it anymore.  She just had to have another.  She started to cry again as she
inhaled the smoke into her nicotine famished lungs.  She started to question
what was going on.  It was like her body wanted to get back to the way it was
even though she didn't.  She stopped crying as the nicotine from her second
cigarette washed through her system.  She was enjoying the experience now too
much to cry.  Smoking this second cigarette was heaven.

After ten puffs, she extinguished her second cigarette with a smile.  "It was
even better than the first", she thought to herself.  She got up and checked
on the baby while she enjoyed the first few minutes of euphoria that the
nicotine gave her.  But five minutes later, she started to feel that tug of a
craving again. She again resisted as it got worse and worse.  Soon, after
fifteen minutes, she could no longer take it.  Her will power was fading as
she lit up again.

"This third cigarette was even better than the first two", she thought as she
enjoyed the incredible feeling of smoke hitting her lungs.  She missed
smoking and no longer felt guilty that she started.  Every puff confirmed how
much she loved smoking.  Finally after ten puffs, she reluctantly put the
cigarette out.  

She went upstairs and woke the baby up right afterwards.  She changed her
diaper and raced for the kitchen.  It has been ten minutes since she put out
her last cigarette and the craving was getting bad again.  She no longer
wanted to wait, and she lit up as she held her baby in her arms.  "This forth
cigarette is better then the first three," she thought as she enjoyed the
immense sensation of the smoke hitting her lungs.  After ten puffs, she put
the cigarette out.  Over the next five minutes, she enjoyed the euphoria of
the nicotine as she put a jacket on the baby.  

With her cravings starting to hit her again, she lit up another cigarette. No
longer was Pam willing to hold off.  Any thought she had of being a light
smoker was quickly fading with every wonderful puff.  She then grabbed her
purse and cigarettes and headed out the door.  She finished her cigarette as
she drove to the smoke shop a few miles from her house.

She got out of her car and pulled the baby out of her car seat that was in
the back seat.  She walked, carrying the baby into the store, grabbed three
cartons of Newport's and purchased them at the counter.  She then went back
to her car, put the baby into her car seat and hopped in the drivers seat
herself.  She reached for her cigarettes and lit up again just prior to
driving away.  As she was driving and smoking she looked at the cartons of
Newport's in the seat next to her and thought, "Welcome back my old friends.
I missed you."

Pam's body never forgot what it wanted.  Five packs of Newport's a day and
nothing less.  Pam now planned to spend the rest of her life happily given
her body what it wanted.


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