Jess's World, Part 1

(by Gray Haze, 28 August 2006)

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Jess's World
by Gray Haze

Part 1 - May 1981, Jess's Jam

"A carton of Salem 100's", Jess said to the man at the store counter.  After
paying for the carton, she headed out to the door only stopping at the
garbage can to throw away a wrapper from one of her newly opened packs.  Once
in her 1975 Oldsmobile Cutlass she immediately extracted a cigarette from the
pack and placed it to her lips.  Grabbing her lighter she immediately lit her
cigarette.  After an initial puff to get the cigarette burning, she took a
long slow puff, followed by a deep inhale.  After holding the smoke in her
lungs for a good three seconds, she reluctantly let out a long exhale of
thick creamy smoke.  Placing the cigarette back in her mouth, she took
another slow long drag while starting the car.  She continued to smoke hands
free while she drove back onto the highway.  Once on the highway she put the
car into cruise control, removed the cigarette from her mouth, and flicked
the long ash out the window.

This cigarette tasted particularly good.  She had been on the road for three
hours and ran out of cigarettes after an hour and a half of the drive.  She
badly wanted one a half hour ago, but decided to wait until the gas tank was
almost empty to stop and buy some.   She continued to take long slow drags
followed by deep inhales as she luxuriated in the intense feeling of the
smoke in her lungs while her stong craving slowly melted away.  With one
final double pump, she flicked the cigarette out the window.

"Five more hours until home", Jess thought to herself while she reached for
another cigarette.  Jess was particularly nervous while driving.  She knew
that it was time to inform her parents of her fully developed habit.  20
years ago, this would not have been a big deal.  Over half the adults smoked
back in the early 60's and a 20 year old smoking was more of the norm than
the exception.  But now it was 1981, and smoking has been a two decade
decline.  Schools now preach the evils of smoking and it is just beginning to
become a social stigma.  It was this pariah stigma that Jess tried to avoid.
But ultimately, the powerful lure of nicotine finally had a firm grip on her.

During her drive home, she reflected back to how she got into such a jam.
During high school she was quite athletic, and although both her parents
smoked, she never even considered it.  She didn't get her first taste of
cigarettes until her first semester of her freshmen year in college.  Some of
her new friends were smokers, and soon, she was talked into trying it while
drinking at a party.  She continued to smoke socially for the remainder of
the year.  Never more than a few, and usually only Salem Ultra Lights,
Marlboro Lights or BH Deluxe Ultra Lights.  She didn't even start inhaling
until the second semester of that year.  With about five weeks left of her
freshman year, she finally decided to buy her first pack.  It was a pack of
Salem Lights 100's, and she only bought it because she was tired of bumming
smokes off of her friends, although they were more than happy to oblige.
Near the end of the semester, she started smoking lightly everyday.  She
found that an occasional cigarette while studying for finals relaxed her. 

After her first year of college ended, she went home and spent the summer not
doing one thing, smoking.  In fact, she laughed at her silly little habit,
and decided that she definitely did not want to become a smoker.  During the
summer, she got back into shape, played in a summer soccer league, and
enjoyed her high school friends who most all were non-smokers.  At the
beginning of her sophomore year, she vowed that her smoking was a thing of
the past, something she definitely would not take up again.  During the first
couple of weeks, her college friends would offer her cigarettes all the time,
but she was determined, and always declined.

That lasted for about three weeks.  She finally broke down at a party her and
her friends went to.  There she met Steve.  He was absolutely gorgeous.  When
he came over and started talking to her, she became star struck.  They
continued to talk for a half hour or so, when finally Steve reached into his
pocket, and pulled out a pack of Marlboro's.  He offered one to Jess, and not
wanting to seem rude to this hunk, she reluctantly accepted.  Much to her
surprise, she had no problem smoking the Marlboro, although it was stronger
than what she used to smoke, and that she hadn't smoked in some time.  During
the rest of the night they continued to talk, and Jess ended up smoking four
more cigarettes with him.  After the party was over, Steve asked Jess if she
would like to go out to dinner the next night.  Of course Jess accepted and
their night ended with a kiss.

The next day Jess was real excited.  She really liked Steve and could hardly
wait until the date.  She also made a trip to the convenience store and
bought a pack of her old brand, Salem Lights 100's.  Being nervous about the
date she had several that afternoon.  She had forgotten how good her old
Salem Light's were, and although she was feeling a little guilty about
breaking her vow, she decided that smoking with Steve was something that she
definitely wanted to do.  

The date with Steve went terrifically.  They smoked together in the ride to
the restaurant, and of course all during the meal.  They went to a night club
afterwards, and danced the night away, punctuated only with a frequent
cigarette.  After getting back to her dorm she noticed that there were only
five cigarettes left in the pack that she had just bought earlier that day.
"Wow, could I have smoked all those", she thought to herself.  Just before
she went to bed, she decided to have one more cigarette.  As she sat quietly
smoking, she thought about the great night that she just had.  Steve was a
great guy, and it looked like they had something special together.  She knew
that as long as they dated, she would probably continue to smoke.  And
although she didn't really want to become a smoker, she realized that while
smoking that last cigarette of the night, she was actually enjoying it.  

Steve and Jess continued to date the rest of the semester.  As the weeks went
by, she continued to smoke everyday.  Gone were any thoughts about her vow
not to smoke.  She was having too much fun with Steve, and smoking was a big
part of it.  By Thanksgiving break, she was up to a half a pack a day, and
sometimes more.  When she got home on Thanksgiving, she left her cigarette at
college.  While home, she really didn't think too much about smoking, but she
did miss it.  She still wasn't really hooked on smoking, and she really
didn't have any trouble refraining during her time at home.  On the trip back
to school, she decided to pick up a pack for the long drive back.  She missed
smoking and thought it would make the trip more enjoyable.  After pulling out
of the convenience store, she immediately lit one up.  She took a big first
puff, and while inhaling, she noticed something different.  The smoke was
much stronger than she was used to.  As she was exhaling, she looked down at
the pack and realized that she was accidentally given a pack of Salem 100's,
full flavor and all.  As she smoked the first cigarette from the pack, she
thought to herself about how good they were.  She liked the little extra kick
it gave to her chest.  The taste, although stronger, was also smooth and
intense.  She smoked twelve more on the eight hour trip back to school,
enjoying every one of them.  

She decided to stick with the full flavor Salem's the rest of the semester.
She and Steve saw a lot of each other the last four weeks of the semester.
That and the pressures of final exams made her smoke more.  In fact a lot
more!  By the end of the semester she was smoking a pack a day, and loving
every minute of it.  She intensely liked the full flavor Salem's, and any
thoughts of guilt were long gone.  She was a smoker now, and coupled with her
blossoming relationship with Steve, any thoughts of quitting were long gone.

She smoked the whole drive home for Christmas break.  During the trip home,
she decided that she would refrain from smoking much like she did during
Thanksgiving.  When she got home, she soon realized that something had
changed.  Within hours of her arrival, she started to feel a strong urge to
smoke.  Watching her mother smoke made matters even worse.  She suddenly
realized that now she was probably hooked, and had to smoke.  Over the course
of the rest of the holidays, Jess smoked whenever she could.  She would sneak
one during the day if she had any chances.  At night she went out often, and
she even smoked occasionally in her room.  She thought about coming out and
just telling her parents that she smoked, but decided against it.  She still
wasn't convinced yet that she wanted a life long habit, and coming out would
confirm just that.

On her way back to school for her second semester, she did something she
never did before.  She bought her first carton of Salem's.  This was a
statement to herself that she was committed to enjoying smoking throughout
the rest of the semester, especially with Steve.  Over the remainder of the
semester, Jess starting smoking like there was no tomorrow.  She now let her
cravings dictate when to smoke, and by spring break she was up to a carton a
week.  Jess and Steve went to Daytona Beach together on spring break, and it
was there she first smoked two packs in one day.  

Although the smoking went well at Daytona, her relationship with Steve
started to sour.  A week after they got back to school, Steve decided to call
it quits.  Jess was devastated.  She knew that things weren't going well, but
losing Steve was still hard to take.  She continued smoking to help ease the
pain, but soon she started thinking about quitting.  Three weeks after the
break up she decided to give it a try.  That lasted all of six hours.  Jess
was shocked on how difficult it was to go without smoking.  By one o'clock,
she couldn't take it any more, and she quickly ran to the store and picked up
another carton.  That first cigarette was incredible, and it was there and
then that she decided that she liked, no loved smoking too much to quit and
probably was hopelessly hooked to boot.  She continued smoking a carton a
week the rest of the school year.

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