(by anonymous5, 23 June 2000)

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Jeanette had a pretty quiet four and a half years in college. It took her 
that long because she dawdled a bit over what he major would be. When she 
finally settled on education, she thought it would last. But by her third 
year, she realized it wasn't necessarily what she wanted to do. But it was 
too late. Switch now, her parents would jump through the roof. So she stuck 
in it, hoping, desperately hoping, that her post-graduate career would 
magically ignite and fall into her lap. Of course it didn't, and when she 
graduated she already knew she'd have to go to graduate school and get a 
master's in what was going to be her new pursuit, whatever it ended up 

But her education major allowed her to get a job as a manager at a hotel 
downtown. Okay, so it wasn't the major, it was the degree. Close enough. She 
graduated in December, vacationed (sat around her house) for a couple weeks 
before starting in early January.

While in college, Jeanette wasn't much for partying. She made friends 
quickly during her freshman year in her dorm, and they were a relatively 
quiet bunch, as well. Sure, they went out, but never more than twice a week 
or so. Jeanette also went home some weekends to visit with friends who were 
a grade behind her. She had started drinking late in her senior year. Some 
of her friends smoked, too, but she never asked nor was ever offered. During 
her freshman year, none of her friends smoked, although they were constantly 
around it in the dorm and at frat parties. Late in her freshman year she was 
talking with a guy, who offered her a Marlboro. Jeanette had consumed a 
couple beers, and she wanted to fit in, so she accepted. She couldn't 
remember much about what it was like, thanks to the beer. She only had a few 
puffs before stubbing it out.

The next year, as a sophomore, Jeanette was at another frat party, and found 
herself sitting around a room with a bunch of people she had never met. 
Another guy offered her a Camel, and she reluctantly accepted, and again the 
beer helped. She nursed the cigarette, only had a few puffs, and that was 

During her junior year she and Katie, a friend since freshman year, started 
going out more to frat and sorority parties, and both occasionally smoked 
after having a few beers. Neither had ever smoked much. One day Katie bummed 
a cigarette from a guy, walked over to Jeanette after just lighting it and 
Jeanette  having gotten very buzzed  asked for a couple puffs. A few 
minutes later the guy returned and offered his Marlboro Reds to both of 
them, and both buzzingly accepted.

It continued like that for awhile. Katie and Jeanette would smoke every once 
in awhile at a party, usually together. Jeanette would need to be pretty 
drunk. Only twice did she approach someone at a party and ask to bum a 
cigarette. It was usually a Marlboro, once a Parliament, once a Merit Light.

She turned 21 September of her senior year, or at least what would have been 
her senior year were she not behind. That night she, Katie and their friend 
Mark went out to celebrate, and near the end of the night Mark bought a pack 
of cigarettes for himself  Marlboro Reds  and shared two each with Katie 
and Jeanette. Jeanette went out more regularly after turning 21, and she and 
Katie started smoking about once every two times they were out  but always 
just one or two, and usually only when they were with a smoker. Jeanette had 
never smoked sober. It would be a stretch even to call her a social smoker.

The hotel job was somewhat of a stressful one. It was in the same area, of 
course, so she could continue to have her previous social life. Katie, who 
had also graduated in December, took a job in the suburbs that required more 
work. The pair also decided to get a place together, and brought in another 
friend from college, Patricia, and they moved in together in mid January.

One night Katie came home from a night of partying with some other friends, 
at about midnight, and was holding a pack of Parliaments when she walked in 
the door. Of course that surprised Jeanette. Apparently Katie had been the 
only person in her group with enough change for the cigarette machine, so 
she had bought the pack. There were only about eight left when she got home 
 she had smoked only two  but she had kept the pack because she hadn't 
thought to offer it to anyone else. No one else in her group had been much 
of a smoker, either, but all social smokers.

"Before I go to sleep, I need just one more cigarette," a sloshed Katie 
said, heading for the balcony. "Come on out, Jeanette."

Jeanette went outside with her, just to ask about the night. It wasn't a 
surprise to see Katie light up on her own. In fact, after a couple puffs 
Jeanette found herself wondering if she should have one too. But being 
sober, she didn't. Katie ended up having one more before they all went to 

The girls went out the next night, alone, and Katie brought the pack with 
her and actually lit up after getting her first beer. After her first beer 
Jeanette did the same. Since they were to ride the subway home they didn't 
have to worry about a limit, and ended up having several beers. They had to 
stop at three cigarettes each because they ran out. That was all they really 
wanted anyway. But when they got home, both pretty buzzed, Katie commented 
that she could use another cigarette. Jeanette agreed, but they were 
helpless. Patricia didn't smoke. They went to bed without one.

A couple days later Jeanette was catching a late ride home on the subway. 
For some reason, she felt a panging for a cigarette. Unusual, she thought. 
It had never meant much to her. Another girl, looking to be a few years 
older, was smoking at the outdoor subway stop, some Marlboros. Then an 
announcement came over the loudspeaker: Their would be a delay in the next 
train. The other girl sighed and pulled out her cigarettes again. Jeanette 
had a thought, and decided she just needed something to pass the time. She 
walked over to the girl and politely asked, "I'm sorry, I never ask this, 
but would you happen to have another one of those?"

"Sure, absolutely," said the girl with short brown hair. She reached into 
her purse and pulled out the pack, and tapped out a cigarette. She handed it 
to to Jeanette, who put it to her lips. The girl pulled out a lighter and 
lifted up to Jeanette, flicked it on and lit Jeanette's cigarette. It was 
the first time Jeanette had smoked while sober, but she was used to it, and 
there were no problems. She took an inhale, pulled it out of her mouth and 
thanked the girl. They ended up talking for a few minutes while they smoked. 
The other girl was an office manager downtown, and fairly amiable. Then the 
subway finally arrived and the sat next to each other. The girl would be 
getting out two stops after Jeanette. They had a good conversation, and 
Jeanette discovered that she didn't mind the smell of smoke on her. She had 
always been ambivalent about smoking, and had never wanted to start, but 
this wasn't so bad. Her stop came, and she thanked her new friend for the 
smoke and said bye. "You want one for the road?" she asked, pointing at her 
purse. Jeanette, surprised at the question, thought a moment then said, 
"Sure, why not?" The girl reached in her purse, pulled out her Marlboros and 
pulled one out and handed it to Jeanette. "Thanks!" Jeanette smiled, then 
waved goodbye. When she got out she realized she didn't have a light. Would 
she need it? She wondered. Would I want it now or later when I get home? The 
car has a lighter. But it was rather cold out, and she thought it would be 
nice to have one. She was holding the cigarette in her right hand, her purse 
tucked under her left hand. As she exited the station, she noticed another 
woman, much older, lighting up. "Excuse me," she said shyly but loudly. "Do 
you have a match?" The woman took out her matches, and without saying a word 
flicked a match and raised it up to Jeanette, who barely had enough time to 
raise it to her lips. When it lit, Jeanette was somewhat worried to discover 
how much she was enjoying the feeling again. "Thanks," she said, after 

She walked towards her car, inhaling and exhaling the cigarette, and 
enjoying it. It was a good way to wrap up the day, she thought. When she got 
home Patricia and Katie were watching TV in the living room. After exchaning 
pleasantries she moved to the kitchen, where Katie walked also to get 
something. "Yeesh, you smell like smoke, Jeanette," Katie noticed. Jeanette 
thought for a moment as to whether she should admit it, then figured why the 
hell not, and told the story. "Oh no, Jeanette's a smoker now," Katie 
teased. "No, no, no," Jeanette replied, in an annoyed voice. "It was just 
something to do." Katie smiled, then almost whispered, "Actually, I could 
almost go for one now. Long day."

"Well, we'll just have to stop ourselves, then," Jeanette said. "Oh, darn 
you," Katie smiled.

Indeed, the pair went without smoking for about two weeks. They went out 
again one night, with Patricia, and after one or two beers Katie announced 
she was going to buy a pack of Parliaments. "Hope you don't mind, Patricia," 
Katie said. "Nah, just blow it away from me."

Katie returned with the pack, unwrapped the cellophane and proferred one to 
Jeanette. Katie flicked a match and lit both of their cigarettes. Both 
managed to blow their smoke away from Patricia. Over the course of an hour, 
they smoked about three cigarettes each, before Patricia said she needed to 
get home to go to sleep. Katie and Jeanette had one more cigarette apiece, 
then left. Katie had driven. When they got home, Katie said: "How about one 
more cigarette before bed," heading toward the balcony. That's where they 
went, and they lit up and smoked one more. Katie left the cigarettes outside 
on the balcony, with eight left in them.

The next night, when she got home from work, Jeanette found Katie on the 
balcony, smoking another cigarette. She joined her, asking why the "sober 
cigarette." Katie was downcast. She was in no mood for jokes. She had a bad 
story to tell, a bad day at work. In fact, no sooner had she stubbed out the 
first cigarette that she lit another. She ended up smoking three while she 
told Jeanette the whole story. At the end, they made some dinner, then 
opened some wine. "I need another cigarette," Katie said, heading for the 
balcony again. "I'll join you," Jeanette said, trailing her. Katie sat down 
on her seat, and Jeanette next to her. Katie reached for the cigarettes, 
which were on the ground to her left, pulled them up and picked one out. She 
lifted it to her mouth and put it in. She looked over at Jeanette, who 
nodded, and Katie took out another and handed it to Jeanette. Jeanette put 
it in her mouth, while Katie picked up the matches and flicked one, then 
lifted it to Jeanette's and then to hers. The friends both inhaled, and 
exhaled. Their wine was by their sides, their cigarettes in their right 
hands. They continued to talk, and continued to smoke. Jeanette found 
herself taking longer inhales and blowing out larger plumes of smoke. Katie 
finished her cigarette first, then a minute later lit another one, just as 
Jeanette was finishing. Ten minutes later, Katie picked up the pack again 
and offered one to Jeannette, who accepted. The friends enjoyed one more 
smoke together before going to bed.

The next day when she got home Jeanette again found Katie on the balcony, 
smoking. She had purchased a new pack of Parliaments. Katie was obviously 
becoming hooked now. Jeanette wondered if she'd be far behind. She joined 
her friend on the balcony, and immediately accepted Katie's offer of a 
cigarette. Jeanette took the cigarette and inserted it in her lips, and 
leaned forward to accept Katie's match. Again, her inhales were longer and 
her exhales producing bigger plumes.

After dinner, the two retreated to the balcony again, for a smoke again. 
Patricia rolled her eyes at the pair.

This continued for about a week. Jeanette went out with some high school 
friends one of the nights, so she didn't smoke. But she found herself 
wanting one.

That Thursday, she was in for a surprise. Her friend at work, Sarah, said 
she had been planning on staying at a ski resort that weekend, but a family 
emergency had arrived and she wouldn't be able to go. She would still have 
to pay for the room, and she wondered if Jeanette might be interested. 
"Sure," Jeanette said, accepting the offer of the one-bedroom condo. She 
immediately called Katie, who said she'd be free all weekend, and it was 

When they packed up Friday Katie mentioned that they needed to stop at 
7-Eleven for some cigarettes. "God, you've become hooked," Jeannete said, 
smiling. "Yeah, I know," Katie sighed. "But just for now. And not for long."

They indeed did pick up a pack on the way, and after hitting the highway 
Katie asked if it would be okay to smoke in the car. "Only if I get to have 
one," Jeanette smiled. Katie opened the cellophane on the pack, pulled two 
out and gave one to Jeanette. She pulled the lighter from the car adapter, 
and handed it to Jeanette, who lit hers before returning the lighter to 
Katie. The pair enjoyed that smoke, then had one more on the hour-long ride 
to the resort.

It went like this during the weekend: That Friday night they ended up at the 
ski resort bar, where they had a few drinks and had about three cigarettes 
each. Saturday during the day they only had one apiece, on the balcony after 
a skiing session, although Katie had one more while Jeanette was in the 
shower. They went to dinner that night at the resort restaurant, found 
themselves asking to be seated in smoking, and lit up after sitting down. 
They had one just after eating, then one more with coffee. They retreated to 
the restaurant bar, where Katie had to ask to buy another pack from the 
people at the bar. They got drunk that night, Jeanette and Katie. Real 
drunk. They chain-smoked, and when they woke up in the morning there were 
only a couple cigarettes left in that second pack. On the way home Katie had 
to smoke another, but Jeanette, smoked out from the previous night, refused.

In fact, Jeanette turned down opportunities for the next three days. While 
Katie had fallen into the new habit, smoking now up to five a day, Jeanette 
had reached a point of resistance. She resolved to stop cold turkey, write 
it off as a faze.

Thursday night she was coming home on the subway, and as she was waiting at 
her transfer point, a girl came up to her and startled her. "Hello there," 
said her friend from a few weeks back, the girl with short brown hair. 
"Waiting again?"

"Yeah, hopefully not as long as last time," Jeanette said. "How are you?"

"Good, good," the girl said. They exchanged some pleasant talk. Then the 
girl looked at the tracks and sighed. "This could be awhile again, huh?"

"Yeah, this time of night's the worst," Jeanette replied.

"Well, at least it leaves enough time for a cigarette," the girl said, 
pulling her purse around and opening it. She reached in and produced the 
Marlboro Lights and a lighter. Then she looked up at Jeanette. "Want one?"

Jeanette thought a moment, and politely said: "No, thanks. I'm trying to cut 

The girl nodded, and pulled a cigarette out and lit it. She inhaled deeply 
and exhaled. "Oh, by the way, I'm getting off at your stop today," she said. 
"I have to stop at the mall to get a gift for a friend."

"Oh, great," Jeanette said, then mentioned something about the mall and made 
small talk on the gift she was planning on getting. The train then pulled 
up, and the friend had to take a couple quick puffs before leaving.

They exchanged more talk on the train, as it took about 10 minutes to get to 
their stop. The got out of the train, then headed towards the exits. It 
wasn't that cold a night, actually kind of pleasant. 50s, but no wind. Once 
they got their fare cards through, the girl reached in her purse and pulled 
out her cigarettes. She quickly pulled one out and lit it. This time, as 
Jeanette saw her enjoyment, she couldn't pass.

"Um, do you have another one?" she asked.

The girl smiled as she finished her inhale then exhaled. "Sure," she said, 
putting her lit cigarette in her left hand and handing the pack of Marlboro 
Lights to Jeanette. Jeanette took the pack, reached in and took out a 
cigarette. The pair had slowed to a stop. Jeanette took the cigarette and 
put it to her mouth, and her friend reached out and flicked the lighter. As 
the smoke seeped in her lungs, Jeanette took a long inhale. She had missed 
it, after all. She exhaled, then handed the lighter back. The pair stood 
there for about two minutes, smoking and talking. Jeanette was enjoying it 
all the more. This was her. This was the enjoyment of it. She liked the feel 
of the cigarette in her hand, then putting it up to her mouth and drawing on 
it, then exhaling it out. Finally, as they stubbed out their cigarettes 
simultaneously, they started walking again, and said their goodbyes.

On her way home, Jeanette stopped at the convenience stoor, and went up to 
the counter. Pulling out a five-dollar bill, she requested a pack of 
Marlboro Lights and a lighter. When she got home, Katie had resumed her spot 
on the balcony, and was just finishing a magazine article. A pack of 
Parliaments was laying next to her. Jeanette joined her outside, and the two 
talked briefly.

Katie laughed at one of her own jokes, then looked down to her right and 
picked up the Parliaments. She reached in and took out a cigarette, and 
reached over to her left to grab a lighter. "You still holding out, 
Jeanette," she asked, the unlit cigarette dangling from her right hand and 
lighter in her left.

Jeanette smiled. "Well -- no." She reached into her purse, and pulled out 
the wrapped pack of Marlboro Lights and smiled. "Jeanette!" Katie smiled. 
"Have you been holding out on me?"

"Noooooo," Jeanette smiled, the pack in her right hand. "I just got this, 
thank you. I just felt the need."

"Well, good, it'll be nice to have someone out here with me for a change. Or 
at least this week. I guess it's work that does this to you." Katie said 
this while Jeanette unwrapped the plastic around the pack, then took off the 
cellophane at the top, and looked at the complete pack of cigarettes. She 
pulled out one of them and put it to her lips.

Katie also had hers at her lips now. She took her lighter, flicked it and 
reached over to Jeanette, who stuck out her mouth with the cigarette inside 
it, and allowed Katie's lighter to ignite it. Once lit, Katie took the 
lighter and moved it over to her cigarette, as Jeanette drew in her smoke 
and leaned back. Katie's lit, while Jeanette reached over and pulled the 
cigarette out of her mouth, then exhaled slowly, letting it stream out. 
Katie did the same, letting out a long plume of smoke. They talked a little 
more. A few moments passed. Jeanette, holding the cigarette in her right 
hand as the smoke came off it, moved it back to her mouth and inhaled long 
again, then exhaled a long stream of smoke. Katie did the same. The pair 
continued to talk, and continued to enjoy their cigarettes.

That's when it ended for Jeanette. She soon became a committed smoker, 
taking one or two breaks a day at work, and smoking with Katie after work. A 
few times she found herself having one in the morning before work. She stuck 
with the Marlboros, while Katie stayed with the Parliaments. Jeanette hasn't 
tried to quit yet, but she plans on it. It's going to be hard though.

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