Sarah's Winstons, Part 1

(by slimv2001@yahoo.com, 29 August 2008)


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Sarah's Winstons
by slimv

Author's Note:

I hope you enjoy this story.  It's probably my last because my health has
taken a downward turn.  But what the heck- no regrets!

I had a great time writing this.  This tale was inspired by two authors who
no longer keep their stories in the archive. I hope they read it and enjoy
it.  -sv


***** ONE *****

I grew up in a small town and was raised by parents with strong Christian
beliefs and convictions in a community of like minded people.  There weren't
any bars in town, and the convenience stores didn't sell beer or wine, but
they did sell cigarettes to the grown-ups.  Actually you only had to be 16 or
have your parent's permission if you were younger, but a smoker under the age
of 25 was a rarity in our town.

My parents didn't want me to smoke and employed a variety of tactics to
ensure that I would never follow in their footsteps.  The reasons they cited
most had to do with age, health, and good morals.

I accepted the reasons they gave because they were my parents and I trusted
them.  My parents smoked Marlboros in the red pack.  I suppose they thought
it was convenient to smoke the same brand.  I didn't ask, but there were a
few times when I wondered what my dad would do if my mom switched to Virginia
Slims.  Perhaps they had an agreement that something like that would never
happen.

I knew that some day, when I was old enough to look right doing it, I would
become a smoker too, just like my parents and their friends.  I pictured
myself at the age of 30, standing in the parking lot of our church, having a
smoke with the "other" adults before the service.  I'd look respectable and
grown-up doing it.  Until then, I was content to be fascinated by the habit
in others, especially women like my mom and her friends.  My mom and her
friends were all nice ladies.  I spent countless hours observing them and
wondering at what ages they ceased being little girls and began smoking like
mature women.  I was very interested in questions like that.  Why?

Even though I wanted to be a smoker some day, it seemed inconceivable that
someone, such as my self, could ever really start.  I mean where would I
start?  And what reason would I give?  To me, that was akin to asking when
will I start robbing banks or murdering people for fun?  Forget about the
embarrassment and trauma of being caught.  I was downright frightened of my
parent's cigarettes.  My mom would have a cow whenever I got close to her
pack by accident.  The idea of touching them was taboo.

When I was 12 years old, I looked out my window and saw the little girl who
lived across the street.  She was standing behind the bushes, by the corner
of her house.  I wouldn't have given it another thought except for one thing.
For one brief second, I could have sworn I saw her sneaking a cigarette.
What can I say?  I thought about stuff like that.  I was really big into
"what ifs".

I knew the eyes could play tricks from that far a distance.  I hadn't seen
the little girl with a cigarette.  She'd probably been holding a piece of
chalk.  It might have even been a stick for all I knew.  After all, she was
only 10 years old.  I was however aroused and fascinated by my mental piece
of fiction.

The little girl's name was Sarah Jacobs and I had known her forever.  Our
mothers were best friends and we went to the same church.  I was both
intrigued and disturbed by the idea of Sarah Jacobs being a smoker.  I held on
to the thought for less than 20 minutes and then discarded it.  At the age of
12, my attraction for girls was beginning to unfold, but it didn't extend to
girls that were two years younger than me.  Besides that, Sara was kind of
chunky and wore glasses.


*****

My feelings for Sarah changed three years later.  I was 15 and she was 13.
Sarah didn't seem so young or little anymore.  She was still a little chunky
but the chunks had begun to take a more womanly proportion.  She was still
bookish looking with her glasses, but there was something about her that I
found attractive.  I began taking notice whenever she visited with her
mother.  Not long after that, we were sitting together in church.  I looked
down to see her hand on top of mine.  That was the day I figured out she
wanted to be more than just friends.  I wasn't sure how I felt about that,
but I didn't push her hand away.

Sarah and I became good friends.  We talked.  We liked each other.  Sometimes
we held hands in a playful way, but we never kissed.  I think it was
confusing for both of us.  She was cute in a different kind of way, but I
wasn't exactly sure of wanting my friends to know I might like her as
something more than my younger neighbor.

My life turned upside down on the fourth day of summer vacation.  A friend of
mine called and asked if I could go fishing with him.  My dad was at work and
I couldn't find my mom in the house.  I saw her car in the driveway, so I
figured she was across the street talking with Mrs. Jacobs.  I called Sarah
to ask if my mom was there but she didn't pick up.  I figured all three of
them were probably on the back patio and couldn't hear the phone.  I decided
the fastest way to get an answer was to walk across the street and find my
mom.

I heard female voices coming from the back yard as soon as I got close to the
house.  I rounded the corner just in time to see a plume of smoke billowing
from Sarah's mouth.

Sarah saw me at the exact moment I saw her.  She tried to put her cigarette
out but it was too late.  I'd already seen her.  I'd seen everything.  I
should have been excited and gleeful, but I wasn't.  I was upset and very
confused.  For crying out loud!  She was sitting there with our mothers.  All
three of them were smoking!

I knew what I saw and it wasn't a stick or a piece of chalk.  It was a
Winston!  I did the only thing I could think of.  I turned and ran back home.
My mother called after me, but I didn't stop.  There was no way I could go
back.  What would I say?  What would Sarah say?  Maybe there was some kind of
explanation.  I remembered the plume of smoke as I slammed the front door
behind me and ran up the stairs to my room.  It wasn't a stick and it wasn't
a piece of chalk.  I flopped down on my bed.

The phone rang.  Maybe it was my friend calling back.  Maybe it was Sarah.  I
didn't answer it.  I was too busy thinking about what I'd seen.

Sarah's parents both smoked Winstons.  They were like my parents that way.  I
guess it was more convenient.  That's what Sarah was smoking when I saw her.
She was smoking her parent's Winstons.

But how did it happen?  Why were her parents letting her smoke?  She's only
13.  Even if her dad doesn't know, her mom most certainly does.  My mom knows
too.  She knew all along and she never said a word to me.  And then I heard
front door open and close.

Mom called my name but I didn't answer.  The door pushed open and my mattress
shifted as she sat down beside me.  I felt her hand on the back of my head.

"I'm sorry you had to find out like that," she said.  "I knew you'd find out
sooner or later.  We all did.  Barbara and I have been begging Sarah to just
come out with it, but she kept thinking she could quit before any one found
out.  And then you showed up in the backyard."

"I'm sorry," I mumbled.

"Its not your fault.  And if you want to know the truth, I think it was for
the best.  Now that you know, maybe she'll see that it's okay."

"What do you mean by that?"

"You know what they say about kids that smoke.  She's afraid people won't
like her anymore when they find out.  She was especially worried about what
you'd think of her.  She has a crush on you.  You know that don't you?"

I shrugged my shoulders.

"I know you think smoking is a nasty habit," said my mother.  "And you're
right.  It is.  Anyone who takes up smoking these days ought to have their
head examined.  It's so stupid to start.  That's why I'm so proud of you.
But smoking doesn't necessarily make you a bad person.  Sarah is a sweet girl
and I think the two of you would make a good couple."

Now I was really getting confused.  Was this the same woman who had for years
beat it into my head that I should never even be friends with a kid that
smoked?  Was she actually suggesting that I start dating Sarah Jacobs?

"If she's so nice and good, why did she start smoking in the first place?"

"I'll tell you in a minute.  I know how bad this must sound, but I really
need a cigarette.  Can we talk about this down stairs?"

As I followed my mother down the stairs, she talked about being addicted to
cigarettes and needing them all the time and how it was that way with Sarah
now.  We sat down at the kitchen table and I watched as she lit her Marlboro.
I wondered if Sarah was sitting with her mom in their kitchen right now?  If
she was, was she smoking?

"Do you remember that older girl named Arlene Stillwater that lived down the
street in the red house?"

"Yeah, she moved away when I was in 5th grade."

"When Sarah and little Billy were younger, that girl Arlene used to babysit
them."

I shrugged my shoulders.  I wasn't going to sass my mom, but what did that
have to do with anything?

"Sarah started smoking when she was 9 because Arlene made her do it.
Apparently Arlene smoked and Sarah found out about it and threatened to tell
her mom.  Arlene knew that Mrs. Jacobs would tell her mom if she found out so
she threatened to kill Sarah's parents and Billy."

"That's stupid," I said.  "Arlene is just a girl.  It wasn't like she could
really kill Mr. and Mrs. Jacobs."

"Sarah didn't know that.  She was only 9.  And then to make sure Sarah didn't
tell on her, Arlene made her start smoking so she'd have to tell on her self
too."

"And that's how she started smoking and got addicted?"

Mom took a puff from her cigarette and nodded.  "She didn't tell her mother
until after Arlene moved away.  That was two years after she started.
Barbara and Jack took her to the doctor but it was too late.  The doctor
couldn't help her."

"Because she was too addicted to quit?" I asked.

Mom nodded.  "Sara likes you a lot honey.  She and I have gotten pretty close
since she started smoking with her mom and I.  You're all she ever talks
about.  She's always been so worried that you'd hate her if you found out the
truth.  I told her you could never hate her and that you'd understand.  Do
you?  Are you going to be okay with this?"

"Yeah, I guess so, but its going to be weird.  I've never been friends with
someone my age that smoked.  And she's even younger than me."


******

I knew I'd see Sarah the next day in church and that was all I could think
about for the rest of the night.  A girl that smokes likes me.

She was sitting in the pew where we normally sit together when I got there.
My parents went to sit with her parents.  My mom looked at me and then back
at Sarah who was sitting alone.  She didn't have to say anything, because I
knew what she wanted me to do.

I walked over and sat down next to her.  I could tell she was as nervous as I
was.  I said hello.

"I'm so sorry about yesterday," she said.

"Its okay.  My mom told me everything.  Its not your fault."

My words evoked a smile from her and she seemed to relax.  Her purse was
sitting between us and she picked it up and placed it on her lap, hoping I'd
scoot closer.  I did.

As the preacher began his sermon on tolerance, I looked down at Sarah's
purse.  It was open.  I'd never seen it open before and I knew she'd done it
on purpose.  The top of a pack of Winstons peeked back at me from her purse.

I knew it was her way of discreetly announcing to the world that she was a
smoker.  I thought it was so brave of her to bring her cigarettes to church
like that.  I sprang an erection as I considered the significance of her
quiet but bold statement.

Sarah Jacobs was 13, but she wasn't a little girl any more.  She had her own
pack of cigarettes and she carried them in her purse.  Any day now, she would
take the next step and begin smoking in public with the the grown women and
men of our community.  She wouldn't hide it like the juvenile delinquents I
knew.  I wondered if she was as excited about it as I was.  I also wondered
if I would ever be able to do what she was about to do.

*****

Sarah and I were standing in the parking lot talking with our friends after
the service.  I had seen her close the zipper on her purse before leaving our
pew, so I knew this wouldn't be the day she broke the news to our peers.  But
as I watched her joking with our friends, I knew there was something
different and older about her now.

Our parents waved us over and said we were going out to lunch at the Chinese
restaurant.  We often had lunch with the Jacobs after church, so this in
itself was not unusual.  But today was unlike any other Sunday I had ever
known.  I knew anything was possible.

The restaurant was crowded and we had to wait almost ten minutes before a
table became available.  The restaurant wasn't divided between smoking and
non-smoking.  There were ashtrays on every table.

I took a seat beside Sarah.  Her younger brother Billy sat between her
parents.  My parents took a seat to my right.  Sarah's parents and my parents
took out their cigarettes as the menus were distributed.  Sarah reached for
her purse but seemed hesitant to open it.  The adults lit their cigarettes.
Sarah unzipped her purse but stopped short of removing the dangerous looking
pack of Winstons.

I felt her anxiety and my heart bled for her.  Her parents had  probably
intended the lunch to be a sort of coming out party for her.  I imagined
myself in her situation.  Would I be able to do it?  I looked around the
restaurant for familiar faces.  They were all familiar.  I knew them.  They
knew us.  My heart raced as Sarah petted the purse on her lap like some old
dog.

It was her father who spoke up and tried to ease the transition.  He asked
Sarah if she had forgotten to bring her cigarettes.  He asked if she wanted
one of his.

Sarah squirmed in her chair.  I squirmed too.

"I brought them," she said as her hand came up with the red pack of Winstons
and a pink plastic lighter.

My erect penis struggled to escape the confines of my pants as Sarah
nervously placed a cigarette between her lips and lit it.  No one at the
table said a word as her lips parted, allowing her to inhale her first public
puff of smoke deep into her young but experienced lungs.

Maybe it was the way the sunlight from the window shined, but I could have
sworn Sarah's first exhale lasted ten or more seconds and travelled the
length of the table.  It was huge and powerful, like a dark stormy cyclone
erupting from her lips.  I'm ashamed to admit this, but I had an orgasm just
as she was taking her second puff.  I've never done that by accident before
or since.

Everyone at our table did their best to act nonchalant.  My dad stared at his
menu while my mother talked to Mrs. Jacobs.  Mr. Jacobs asked me if I was
enjoying my summer while his 13 year old daughter awkwardly stumbled through
her first public cigarette.

I watched her out of the corner of my eye as I answered her father.  The
grown-up pack of Winstons sitting on the table in front of her looked so out
of place.  But it paled to the angry looking cigarette burning between her
stubby fingers.  I had never as much as even held an unlit cigarette before
and there was Sarah, sitting beside me, holding a smoldering symbol of
adulthood and bringing it to her lips.  She was smoking in front of me.  She
was smoking in front of her parents and mine.  She was smoking in a public
restaurant for all the world to see.

We placed our orders and talked through lunch.  Afterwards, Sarah followed
the grown-ups example by lighting another cigarette as the waiter removed our
plates.  It was less forced this time, but she still looked awkward.  

Sarah Jacobs is really a smoker, I thought.  She's a nice girl and she's a
smoker too.  The words didn't go together, but it was true.

*****

On the way home from the restaurant, my parents told me how proud they were
of me for being so supportive of Sarah.

"These next couple weeks are going to be difficult for her," said my father
as he lit a Marlboro and returned the pack to his shirt pocket. 

My mother lit up too and added her own two cents.  "What happened to Sarah is
a tragedy and there's a special place in hell for that girl who did this to
her, but what's done is done.  I just hope you never put your father and I
through that kind of pain.  It would break our heart if you ever started
smoking."

"Your mother is right Michael," said my father.  "We were your age once too,
so we know how cool smoking looks to young people, but its not.  I want you
to remember that, in case you ever get tempted to pick up a cigarette."

"And if you don't believe us," said my mother.  "You can ask Sarah.  I know
she'll tell you how bad it is.  That poor little girl hates being a smoker.
She's going to be saddled to those cigarettes for the rest of her life.
Bless her heart."


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