Sarah's Winstons, Part 2

(by, 29 August 2008)

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Sarah's Winstons
by slimv

****** TWO ******

My parents were right about the first couple weeks being difficult for Sarah.
It took everything she had to keep from bursting in tears and putting out her
cigarette whenever someone gave her a curious look.  They were also right
about her hating her habit.  She griped about it constantly and when she
wasn't griping about it, she was apologizing for it.  I think we would have
shared our first kiss by then if she hadn't felt so self-conscious about it.

She once asked me if she smelled like an ashtray.  I told her she didn't but
she did.  Actually, she smelled like our parents and all the other grown-ups
I knew that smoked.

Sarah turned 14 three weeks before school started.  By this time she was
smoking over two packs a day and everyone in our small little town knew it.
Both her finger tips and her teeth were stained yellow with nicotine.  She
didn't ride her bike around town any more because she got winded too easily.
That was okay, because I had my driver's license and we were dating.  I drove
us everywhere we wanted to go.  Our favorite place was the drive-in movie
theater off the interstate, 15 miles away.  It was our favorite place because
that's where we shared our first kiss.

I had anticipated that first kiss from the first time I had seen her smoking
on the patio with our mothers.  We were both scared of what the other's
reaction would be.  My dad had warned me that I might not like it.  He told
me that kissing a smoker is an acquired taste.  He was right.  I was both
disgusted and turned on at the same time.  And I was also proud of myself for
kissing a woman that smokes, even if that woman was only 14.

Being with Sarah made me feel older than I was.  I was dating a smoker and I
liked it.  She had gotten over her shyness about smoking in front of me and
everyone else for that matter.  It was just something she had to do- over and
over again.  And she wished she didn't.  Even so, there were times when I
wondered if she didn't really enjoy it.  My parents had always denied that
smoking gave them pleasure in any way.  They said it was just an addiction,
but watching Sarah made me wonder.

My dad was right when he said kids my age, younger people, thought smoking
was cool.  What's not cool about looking and acting older than you are when
you're just a kid?  Of course there's nothing cool about sneaking cigarettes
in the woods and hiding it from your parents and friends.  But Sara wasn't
doing that.  Like every other adult smoker I knew, her addiction had no
boundaries.  That red pack of Winstons became her constant companion,
accompanying her everywhere she went.  

I was pretty popular at our school so being my girlfriend didn't hurt her
reputation.  Being a smoker didn't hurt either.  She was elected president of
her 9th grade class.  She'd come a long way from the chunky 10 year old girl
with glasses sneaking cigarettes behind her parent's house.  I was amazed and
thrilled at how well smoking worked for her.  Surprisingly, she didn't flaunt
it, at least not intentionally.  She smoked "normally" like my mom and her
mom.  It was just something she had to do.  And she needed to do it often.
She even had permission to use the teacher's lounge between classes for
cigarette breaks.  It wasn't normal, but she made it seem normal.  That was
her gift.

I had a reputation too, and it prevented me from exploring my heartfelt
desires.  What would people say if they found I smoked?  My fear of being
discovered kept my temptation in check.  What if I tried it and got caught?
What if I tried it and didn't get caught?  I might get addicted and need to
smoke every day of my life like Sarah.  What would happen then?  What would
people say?  I was too afraid to find out.

Now that I was 16, I could legally walk into the convenience store that sold
cigarettes to my parents and buy them for myself.  There was no law on the
books that could punish me for lighting a cigarette in front of my parents.
Yet they had the power to ground me for the rest of my life.  And I knew they
would evoke their parental privileges if I were to do such a thing.  I felt
as if the world as I knew it would end if I were to ever get caught smoking a

I reasoned that my situation would change some day, but I could never
accurately envision it.  It was more like a hope or a dream.  It was my
fantasy.  To make matters worse, I couldn't tell anyone about it.  I had to
keep it to my self.  Can you imagine what would happen if I were to ever tell
my parents how I felt?  These were some pretty sick thoughts as far as I was
concerned.  And if you knew Sarah the way I knew her, you'd understand why I
couldn't share my feelings with her.  She was a martyr when it came to
smoking...puff, puff, puff...I wish I wasn't hooked on these things...puff,
puff, puff...I hate being a smoker...puff, puff, puff...Honey, I'm out of

I pulled into the convenience store and bought my girlfriend two packs of

"I hope these aren't for you Michael," said Mr. Rawlings as he took a drag
off his unfiltered Camel.

I pointed to my car.  Sarah waved from the front seat.  Mr. Rawlings waved
back.  He smiled as he handed me my change and the two packs of Winstons.
"She's a nice girl," he said.

I told him I knew that.


Sarah was a nice girl.  There was no arguing with that.  I knew, because I
was her boyfriend.  My hands were the ones she stopped whenever I attempted
to explore too much of her womanly body.  I say her body was womanly because
it wasn't the body of an active-athletic teenager.  She was well on her way
to becoming heavy breasted like her mother.  They even shared the same wide
child-bearing hips.  She had a smaller version of her mother's paunch belly
too.  That's what big dinners and two packs of Winstons a day will do to a
woman's figure if she doesn't exercise.  And for some reason, I found it very

Sarah was a smart girl, but she didn't have any ambitions outside of church
and high school.  The only thing she wanted was to marry me and become a
stay-at-home mom like her mother.  It was up to me to go to college and get
that good paying job to make her dream a reality.  I wanted that too, because
that's the way I'd seen my own parents do it.  But my dad smoked.  Mr. Jacobs
smoked too.  In my mind, being married to a smoker and not being allowed to
smoke too would be akin to be married to my mom.  I didn't particularly like
that vision of my future because I had never intended it to be like that.  I
felt stifled and suffocated by the reputation I was being forced to live up
to for the rest of my life.

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