But I Don't Smoke, Part 1

(by Fuzzyman, 29 May 2001)

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"But I Don't Smoke"
by Fuzzyman
Part I

June 20

You'll never believe this, but I'm writing this in the hospital!  No, I'm
fine but Mom is a little banged up.

This was a triple-whammy, Diary.  First of all it was the last day of
school.  Second it was my 13th Birthday.  And third, well, that explains why
I'm writing in the hospital.

Mom picked me up like she always does after school.  We were making a few
Avon deliveries and on our way home when it happened.  Mom got distracted
for a split second while lighting a cigarette and this truck smacks into her
car.  This sucks on many levels, Diary.  First, I think Mom broke her arm.
That alone bums me out big-time.  Second, Mom counts on her car for her job.
I mean, forget the fact that it's my birthday.  Mom is banged up and that

June 28

The car came back from the body shop today.  It doesn't look so bad anymore.
Mom was getting pretty restless at home, but she spent enough time on the
phone with her customers to get some business going and some money flowing.
The deliveries were backing up, though and it was time to start making the
deliveries.  During the summers I lend a hand, which earns me a couple of
bucks (which is always nice).  I actually dig my Mom a lot.  She's actually
pretty with-it.  I know she needs my help right now and, since I've got the
time, I'll give her what I can.

Anyway Diary, here's where it gets weird.  We're about a half-a-mile away
from the house and Mom asks "Can you start a cigarette for me?"  She says
that she can only use one arm right now and since the accident she's a
little flaky about lighting up while driving.  One glitch - I don't smoke.
So I tell her that and she laughs - not in a mean or even teasing way.  She
says that she wasn't asking me to smoke it for her, just start it up.  She
also said that being able to start a cigarette is a good skill to have.  I
thought "what the heck - it's helping Mom out."

Anyway, I take a cigarette out of her pack and, well Diary, I really wasn't
sure what to do with it.  I put it in my mouth and wrestled with the lighter
for a while until I could get it to work.  Every now and then Mom would look
over at me with this grin, like she was watching some comedy show on TV.  I
put the flame to the cigarette and nothing happened.

"It's broken," I told my Mom.  Trying not to laugh, she said I had to
breathe through it, like I was breathing through a straw.  Okay, so I did
and BLAMMO!  What a weird sensation!  I didn't hurl or anything ... I didn't
even cough.  I just didn't expect it.

Mom took the cigarette and thanked me.  Again, I cool with helping Mom and
all.  I just didn't expect THAT.

June 30

Mom is feeling better.  We make daily deliveries and Mom may soon get out of
her cast.  Every time we go out now I wind up starting her cigarettes.  I
wind up starting five or six now with each trip, depending on how long it
is.  I'm actually getting pretty good at it.  It doesn't taste as vile as it
did that first time.  I asked Mom if this was bad for me and she assured me
that starting cigarettes for her wouldn't hurt me at all.  Besides, I don't

July 8

Mom got her cast of today.  I was thinking that this would be the end of my
starting cigarettes for her, but she said that her arm was still a bit
tender.  More than that, she's still spooked about it, since the wreck was
pretty bad and she freaked out a bit.  Hey, I don't mind.  I hate to admit
it, Diary, but sometimes I actually look forward to it.  I've been watching
Mom smoke and all, and when I light the cigarette I try to inhale it like
she does.  It kind of gives me a little buzz, which is sort of cool.

Today I started about eight cigarettes for her.  Each time, just for fun, I
tried to inhale as much as I could - each time taking in a little more.
Then I'd hold it in as long as I could.  Mom started watching me do that and
she asked if I liked it.  I told her that it was okay, but I'm not a smoker
and don't expect me to be.  She just kind of nodded.

July 9

Okay, I'm a bad girl.

We were about to go out to make some deliveries.  Mom started the car.  She
doesn't even have to ask me now - I automatically start the cigarette for
her.  Anyway, she said she forgot something and ran back inside the house.
So, I sat there, holding her cigarette.  I just kind of looked at it.  I
held it up and I held it down.  I let the smoke rise up my arm.  She still
wasn't coming out.  I took another drag.  Just like the first one, I took as
big a drag as I could and tried to hold it for as long as I could.  It felt
a little easier than the first one.  It actually tasted good.  Mom was still
nowhere to be seen, so I took a third drag ... and a fourth ... and a fifth.
Soon it was gone.  I put it out in the ashtray.

Mom FINALLY came back and wanted to know if I'd started her cigarette yet
for her, so I lit her another one.  That was close Diary.

It got me to thinking some.  I mean, I don't smoke, but I actually enjoyed
that cigarette.  I felt kind of bad, but kind of good at the same time.

Mom did something kind of strange.  She asked me if I liked starting her
cigarettes for her.  I tried to play it down and I told her that it was
okay.  She said that if I liked it she wouldn't be mad.  I told her that it
was okay sometimes, but I wasn't a smoker.  She just sort of nodded.

July 14

No deliveries today.  For some unknown reason I keep hoping we'll go out so
I can start a cigarette for my mother.  It's not like I have to, it's just
like that's what I keep thinking about.  I asked Mom if she wanted me to
start one for her, and she said "no."

July 14 - later

It was late - after 8:00.  Mom needed to go out to the store for more
cigarettes.  I volunteered to go with her.  When I got in the car I took out
one of her cigarettes, lit it and took a HUGE drag and held it forever.
Once I blew out the smoke I took another drag as deep as the first.  I
didn't think that Mom was waiting for it.  "Would you like your own," she
asked me?  "No Mom, I don't smoke."  "Are you sure?" she said.

Wow.  That's something to think about.  I mean, I'm thirteen years old, I'm
a good student, I'm a good daughter ... but I'm not a smoker.  I mean, the
smokers are always the borderline delinquents who are always sneaking into
the bathrooms at school.  I'm a good kid.  On the other hand, I'm starting
to actually like starting Mom's cigarettes and I actually look forward to
it.  This is weird.

July 18

Yesterday was another day of no deliveries.  Another day of not lighting
cigarettes for Mom.  I asked her a few times and she kept saying "no."  Each
time she light up I watched her and I could almost feel the smoke in my
throat and in my nose.  I would sit by her and breathe it in.  It wasn't the
same though.

Anyway, here's where things get weird again.  It was almost midnight.  Mom
was up watching a movie and I was asleep, or at least trying to be.  I woke
up sweating and a little shaky - like I hadn't eaten anything but I wasn't

I came out to Mom.  Mom always knows what to do.  I told her I felt funny -
like I was hungry but not.  She said "Have a cigarette."

"But I don't smoke, Mom."

"I know.  Have one anyway."

Okay, Dairy.  Weirdness time.  I took a cigarette and I saw my hand shaking.
I lit it up and took a drag even deeper than I could have imagined.  I held
the smoke in for what seemed like an hour.  Before I could blow out all of
the smoke I was dragging again.  It's almost like I wasn't in control.  I
took drag after drag until the cigarette was finished.  Mom gave me another
one and I smoked it just like the last one.

"How did you know?"

"I've been smoking for more years than you've been alive.  You were having
nicotine cravings.  It's not a bad thing."

"But I don't smoke, Mom."

"I have some bad news for you.  You do."

"No I don't."

I thought long and hard about it.  I do.  I have no idea what it means to be
a smoker or what it's like, but all I know is that I want to smoke.  I need
to smoke.

July 19

I woke up still freaked out about my newly discovered identity.  I still
don't know what it means.  I came down for breakfast and sat at the table.
Mom sat down with me and took a cigarette from the pack and pushed to pack
to me.  "Go ahead," she said.  "I'm totally good with it."

I felt funny about it, but I took the cigarette and lit it.  Oh my God ...
it was the best thing I have ever tasted in my life.

"Pretty good, huh?" asked Mom.  "The first one of the day is always the

"I don't know about this.  I've never thought about it."

"It's okay.  I'll get you through it.  Like I said, I've been a smoker for a
long time.  I know the ropes."

I must have smoked four or five cigarettes that morning, each one better
than the last.

In the afternoon we went do to deliveries.  Mom asked me to start a
cigarette for her still, but then she said I can light one for myself, too.
So there we were, in the car, both of us smoking.  It was kind of cool and I
felt a closeness to my Mom I never felt before.

We finished our cigarettes and about ten minutes later she asked if I'd
light her another one.  Then, without her suggesting, I lit one for myself.

July 20

Mom gave me a late birthday present.  It was a little basket.  In it was a
nice ashtray, a pack of disposable lighters, a leather cigarette case and a
carton of my own cigarettes.  I opened it up and smoked my first cigarette
in my own bedroom.  It was almost like a christening.  I always thought my
mom's room had that cigarette stink to it, but I found myself not caring any
Later, I helped Mom with a delivery.  As usual I started a cigarette for
her, but this time I started one for myself, too.  For a few minutes the
thick fog of two cigarettes filled up the car (and made my eyes water a
little), but for some reason I didn't mind it.  I almost liked it.

I am a smoker.  I wasn't, but now I am.  Smoking is super enjoyable.  Plus,
when you don't smoke, it gets freaky.

I asked Mom what will happen when school starts back, and she said we'd
worry about that when it happened.

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