Andie and Rich Twice Re-united with an Old Friend

(by anonymous15, 18 November 2004)


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"Andie and Rich - Twice Re-United With An Old Friend"

It was a September day in 1979.  Richard and Andrea O'Rafferty lived as a
typical family in a typical suburban setting - four-bedroom house with a deck
and finished basement.  Rich was a Physics professor in a private four year
college.  Andie was a high school math teacher during the first years of
their 13-plus year marriage, but then the family came along.  They now had
children in 4th, 3rd and 1st grades.  Andie had become a stay at home Mom,
caring for their three children.  Once they all were in school full - time,
Andie began working as a teacher's aide on Tuesday and Thursday.  The school
was a private Church-related school, and her pay from the work two days a
week would enable them to amply afford the tuition.  It also wasn't a high
school job, but she enjoyed working with the younger children.  She would
also be at school in case there was an emergency.  The other three days were
spent on errands, keeping the house tidy, and other things that this
dedicated wife an d Mom loved to do for her family.

Today was Wednesday, and she was having Linda over for coffee.  She had made
a coffee cake from a family recipe.  Linda volunteered to help with lunch at
school.  She and George had a 3rd grader, a classmate of one of Andie's
children.  Linda and George had just moved into the community.  Andie had met
Linda at school the day before, and they took an instant liking to each
other.  George had a job that involved frequent promotions and frequent
moves.  The last promotion was to District Director.  He was already looking
for his next promotion to a Vice-Presidency, but that would involve another
move.  Linda was hoping for two years, especially since she had found this
school for their child.  Today, Andie was going to share her expertise with
Linda on the school, the community and anything else that Linda might want to
know about.

Andie had just dropped the children off when Linda pulled in behind her.  "Do
you know how to get to my house," Andie asked.  Linda answered, "I wrote
directions from the map, but maybe I'd better follow you just in case."
Andie pulled out with Linda following, and they rode in tandem the five miles
to Andie's home. 

When they arrived home, Linda got out of her car to meet Andie, who had
parked in the driveway.  Amid small talk, Andie unlocked the front door.
They entered the house through the foyer.  As always, the house was very
tidy.  Andie showed Linda the living and family rooms, and then walked into
the kitchen.  The kitchen table was set for coffee and cake, and the coffee
was brewing.  Andie had thought of everything.

"Your house is so neat, and you are so organized," Linda remarked.  "How do
you do it with three?  I can't even keep things straight with one!"  Andie
answered, "They all have jobs.  They stack the dishwasher and put their
clothes in the laundry room downstairs.  Even Rich has to before he goes to
work."

They sat at the table as Andie poured coffee.  Linda began looking around.
Andie wasn't sure of what she was looking for.  Creamer, sugar - she thought
that she had everything.  "Linda, can I get you anything else?"

Linda grasped her purse and appeared a little embarrassed.  She had been
looking for an ash tray - a clue that it would be all right to smoke.
"Andrea, would you mind if I had a cigarette?  It's been a busy morning and I
haven't had one yet.  I can go outside if you want."

Andie answered, "No, don't be silly. I'll get an ash tray."  As Linda took
her cigarettes and matches from her purse, Andie went to the pantry room.
Here they stored dishes that they did not use much.  Andie got an ash tray
from a cabinet.  Coming back into the kitchen, she noticed Linda's pack of
Benson - Hedges menthols.  They brought back memories of three years of
smoking before the children came.  Both Andie and Rich had quit when she
became pregnant with their oldest child, now nine and a half.  Andie had
difficulty quitting and although she had not smoked since then, had never
really ever gotten over wanting one once in a while.  

As Linda opened the new pack, Andie set the ash tray down between them.
Linda lit her cigarette, and Andie smelled the smoke right away.  She was
hoping that Linda would offer her one.  Linda commented as she exhaled,
"Thanks for understanding."  Andie answered, "That's OK.  We used to smoke
before the children came along."  Pointing to the pack on the table, she
added, "They were my brand."  Linda asked, "Did you quit because of the
children coming?"  "Yes, as soon as I found out I was pregnant," Andie
answered.  Seeing a possible in, she added, "I still enjoy them every so
often."

Linda picked up the pack and extended it in Andie's direction, "I should
have offered you one.  Want to join me?"  Andie looked at the tips of the
menthol cigarettes that extended from the pack.  She took one, saying "Yes,
thanks."  She took the cigarette in her left hand and lit a match with her
right hand.  She placed the cigarette between her lips and lit it.  She
inhaled the smoke and blew it out.  It was her first puff on a cigarette in
almost ten years, and it tasted so - o - o good!  She felt a buzz that she
had felt when she first picked up a cigarette twelve years before.  But she
also felt like an old friend had come back.

Andie shifted her cigarette to her right hand and took another puff, and a
sip of her coffee.  She explained to Linda that when they quit, Rich became
an obnoxious ex-smoker and eventually decided that he did not want his
children to know that they had ever smoked.  Linda commented, "It's probably
better that way.  Mine lectures George and me constantly about our smoking."
They finished their cigarettes as they talked.  Andie cut the coffee cake and
gave Linda a slice.  Linda complemented Andie on how good it was.  Andie told
her that it was a family recipe and offered to give it to her.  She went to
her recipe box.

She got pen and paper and returned to the table.  As she began writing the
recipe down for her, Linda took another cigarette and offered one to Andie,
who accepted.  As she smoked, Andie copied the recipe for Linda.  The ladies
continued to chat over coffee.  They discovered that they had a lot in
common.  As they continued to talk, Linda, as before, took another cigarette
from her pack and extended the pack to Andie.  As before, Andie accepted.  

As they finished their third cup of coffee and also third cigarette, Linda
looked at the clock.  It was almost 11.  Time for Linda to get to school for
lunch.  "We have to do this again," Linda commented.  Andie agreed and they
set a date for Monday.  As they walked into the foyer, Linda thanked Andie
for the coffee cake and recipe.  Andie answered, "Thanks for the cigarettes.
I don't get a chance to enjoy them much with Rich and the children."  Linda
answered, "Any time you want to have a cigarette in peace, stop by my place."
Andie thanked her.

The rest of the day was spent catching up on housework.  That night, Andie
told Rich about her morning with Linda.  She did not mention the cigarettes
that she had smoked.  Thursday was Andie's day at school.  On Friday, she ran
errands and made sure that Rich had everything for his trip next week.  Rich
hardly ever had to travel, but this week he had an all - week convention.
Andie had to drive him to the airport early Monday morning.  She would then
drive the children for school.  She was having Linda over again, but there
would be time and she had another recipe prepared.

Monday morning came and Andie drove Rich to the airport.  She came home amid
a traffic jam, arriving late.  She expected to find the children ready.  They
weren't.  The oldest one was still in bed.  The other two had cut into the
cake that she had prepared for her morning with Linda.  It was starting to
get to Andie.  Keeping her cool, she got them all up and into the minivan,
grabbing a box of Pop Tarts for them to eat in the car.  The house was a
mess.  No one had done anything that they were supposed to do.

They arrived at school.  As the children were getting their things together,
Linda approached the minivan.  "We still on for today?"  Andie nodded.  Linda
asked, "Can I bring anything?"  Andie at first said, "We're fine."  But then,
after the children left the car and had gotten into the school, Andie called
out, "Linda!"  Linda turned.  Andie put the two fingers of her hand over her
lips and blew out, saying, "I'm frazzled.  It was a rough morning."  Linda
knew what Andie meant.  "Gotcha."

Andie arrived home, hoping that she could straighten up as much as she could
before Linda arrived.  As Linda rang the door bell, Andie remembered the ash
tray.  As she set it out, she called, "Come on in."  Linda came through the
foyer to the kitchen.  Andie was sure she noticed that the house was a mess.
As soon as they got to the kitchen, Linda took two cigarettes from her purse
and gave one to Andie, saying, "I got your hint."    Andie took it and placed
it between her lips, and Linda lit it.  Andie took a deep puff.  Through a
breathy exhale, she said, "Thanks" and took another deep puff.  It tasted
good and was very relaxing.

Over coffee, as she smoked that cigarette and then another, Andie told Linda
about the morning, and how Rich would not be around all week to help with
evening things with the children.  They continued to talk.  Linda assured,
her, "The rest of the day is yours.  Relax." As she took her fourth cigarette
of the morning, Andie commented, "I'm smoking all your cigarettes!"
Realizing that only an hour had passed, Andie thought to herself, "I've
never smoked this much."  Even before they had children, Andie had been a
moderate smoker.  When they were first married, Rich had been an off and on
smoker.  On impulse one night, Andie, who had never tried smoking before,
tried a few puffs of a Benson's menthol, then a whole one an hour later.  She
liked the taste but didn't want to become addicted, so she kept it down.  

It was time for Linda to leave.  As she left, she took a full pack of
Benson's menthols from her purse and offered them to Andie.  Andie answered,
"Oh no.  I can't."  Linda answered, "I have almost a full carton at home.
Besides, Rich won't be here and you can have them when the children aren't
around."  Andie said, "Thanks" and took them.  

After Linda left, Andie finished cleaning the house and sat on in the family
room couch to rest.  She was finally caught up downstairs; she would do
upstairs after lunch.  "Linda was right -  relax," Andie thought.  Than she
remembered Linda's present.  A cigarette would go nicely.  She returned to
the kitchen and got the cigarette, matches and ash tray.  She opened the
cigarettes and took one out.  She returned to the couch, and stretching her
legs to relax, lit it.  She took very deliberate and deep puffs, watching the
exhaled smoke.  She was enjoying the menthol taste as never before, as well
as the relaxing effect of the cigarette.

After lunch, Andie went upstairs and made the beds.  She brought her
cigarettes with her, thinking that she could put them in the bedroom where
the children would not see them.  She had also emptied and cleaned the ash
tray and brought it upstairs to keep with the cigarettes.  She sat on the bed
and opened a dresser drawer.  As she put them away, she thought, "I still
have an hour.  One more."  

Andie sat on the side of the bed and lit her cigarette.  As she smoked it,
she noticed her reflection in the mirror.  She enjoyed watching herself
smoke, marveling at how good she looked with a cigarette.  She took another
puff.  Enjoying the menthol taste, she thought, "Why did I ever give these
up?"

Andie did remember to spray the areas where she had been smoking before
getting the children.  On Tuesday, there was no opportunity because she was
at school.  Although at night, when she was sure that the children were
asleep she closed her bedroom door and put on the shower fan in the bathroom,
enjoying a cigarette there before going to bed.  

On Wednesday, Andie had accepted an invitation to go to Linda's in the
morning.  In her room, she dropped her cigarettes in her purse for the
morning at Linda's.  Wednesday morning, she spent as Monday, chatting with
Linda and smoking.  The afternoon she spent at home relaxing and smoking.
Back at school Thursday.

By Friday afternoon, Andie had smoked all but four of the cigarettes that
Linda had given her.  She did not want to smoke on Friday afternoon.  She
fought the urge that was now taking hold, even more so than it did when she
smoked before.  She hid her cigarettes in a bedroom dresser under her
pajamas, figuring that no one else would go into that drawer, even Rich.
Andie made dinner for the children, and then it was time to pick up Daddy at
the airport.

The flight got in later than expected.  They did not get home until 10:30.
By then, the children were asleep in the back seat.  It was very easy to get
them to bed.  Andie and Rich went to their bedroom.  Andie noticed that she
had not closed the dresser drawer completely, and wondered if Rich would
notice.  

They closed the bedroom door and hugged.  As they prepared for bed, Rich
asked, "So what have you been up to this week?"  Maybe it was the way he
asked, and maybe it was Andie's conscience.  "Sweetie, I've been smoking."
She told him about Linda, saying, "I'm sorry I disappointed you.  I never
should have done it."  Rich asked it the children knew.  Andie replied that
they didn't, she had been discrete about it.  "Do you have any left?"  Andie
answered that there were some in the drawer.  Rich asked, "Do you want one?"
Afraid of the smell drifting into the other bedrooms, Andie answered, "Yes.
But not here.  Let's go downstairs."

Andie got the cigarettes and they went down to the basement, which had a
finished rec room.  They sat on the couch and Andie lit a cigarette.  Rich
took one and did the same.  After they finished Rich put his arm around Andie
and kissed her.  The kissing grew more intense.  "So, are you ready to work
on Number Four?" Andie asked.  Rich asked "Is it safe?"  Andie answered,
"We're OK.  My period is Monday or Tuesday."  They made love on the couch.
Afterward, they had another cigarette.

Andie then brought up the subject again, "Sweetie, I love you so much.  The
sun rises and sets in you.  And I love our children.  But I found that I like
my Benson's menthols.  Would you mind if I smoke if I keep it from the
children?  You won't hate me, will you?"

Rich kissed her.  "Hate you?  Honey, I love you.  Your smoking won't change
that." Andie assured him that the children would not know.  "I'll be more
careful even then we were tonight.  The thing even down here tonight that I
was afraid of is that one of them would come down and catch Mommy smoking a
cigarette.  I don't know how I'd ever explain it."

The following evening, they had arranged for a baby sitter to have a night
out.  The sitter came, and they left.  Rich suggested a mall about 30 miles
away.  There was a good restaurant and they could walk.  As they pulled on to
the highway, Rich asked Andie to open the glove box.  She did.  Inside was a
full pack of Benson - Hedges menthols and a book of matches.  Rich asked her
to light him a cigarette.  She took two out, lit both and gave one to Rich.
They had another on the way.  At the restaurant they sat in the smoking area
and enjoyed two more cigarettes with dinner.  Afterward, they did a little
Christmas shopping and just walked, taking cigarette breaks.  As they arrived
close to home, Andie looked inside the pack.  There were six cigarettes left.
She went to return them to the glove box.  Rich suggested, "Put them in the
zipped area of your purse.  You can have one when they are not around and
they won't know."  Andie did.

On Monday, Andie was due at Lynn's.  She told Lynn about her weekend as they
shared coffee and cigarettes.  On the way home, she stopped at a store and
picked up another pack.  Throughout the year, Andie and Linda continued their
get-togethers.  Some were in the evening with the husbands.   When they had
them at Linda's, Andie and Rich smoked freely.

The following summer, George got his promotion and the expected move took
place.  Andie lost one of her smoking partners in Linda.  The other one was
Rich.  They continued to smoke for a couple of more years, and eventually
tapered off in mid 1981, afraid that the children, now getting older, could
find out and possibly want to do it themselves.  

The three children grew up, and none to the best of Rich and Andie's
knowledge had a desire to start smoking.  Nor did the children ever find out
about the time when they was smoking.  Eventually the children married and
moved away.  All took jobs several hundred miles away.  Last summer, they
downsized from their four bedroom home to a senior community.  Andie and Rich
suddenly went from being the busy super-parents to having nothing to do. 

As soon as they were settled in to their new home, Rich had to leave on a
lucrative two - week consulting assignment.  On Sunday after church, Andie
drove him to the airport and returned home.  Already affected by "empty nest
syndrome" she was also experiencing sheer boredom!  They had met the
neighbors only casually, and had not been to the community center together.
Andie wanted to wait until Rich returned for that.  She came home and had
coffee.  She also remembered that she needed to drop some film off at the
grocery store for developing.  She had forgotten to do that they day before
when she grocery shopped.  But it was OK.  This was gong to be the high point
of her two weeks!  She'd even get to go back the next day to get the film.

She arrived at the counter.  She noticed that it was also the cigarette
counter.  She also noticed several different packs of B&H's.  She hadn't
smoked in over 20 years, and was getting an urge.  The clerk took the
information for the film and asked if there would be anything else.  She
answered, "Yes.  A pack of Benson - Hedges menthols."  He asked,
"Regular, Light or Ultra Light."  Andie, not knowing what to say, answered,
"Regular."  She also got a book of matches.  The clerk gave her a green
pack that looked almost familiar.  She was a bit surprised at the $4.25
price, but paid it.  This was more than a carton had cost when she first took
up smoking.

Once home, she went to the kitchen and sat at the table with her cigarettes.
She opened the pack, took one and lit the first cigarette in more than twenty
years.  As she took two deep puffs and inhaled, the buzz returned.  She also
realized that she did not have an ash tray.  Running over to the sink, she
flicked the ash into it.  She stood by the sink smoking her cigarette, and
eventually put it out with water.  She realized that they no longer had ash
trays in the house, so she took a saucer and decided that this would do.  She
decided to finish the pack at her old rate of five or less a day and then not
buy any more.

But by Monday at 5 PM when the film was going to be ready, Andie had smoked
almost the whole pack.  Returning to the store, she noticed that cartons were
$37.50.  That was a savings.  In addition to the carton and the film, Andie
passed through housewares and bought two ash trays.

The two weeks went by, and Andie had bought a second carton.  She had smoked
a pack a day, and realized that she was back in it - this time for keeps and
big time!  She was also smoking publicly, something that she had never before
done.  On the day that Andie picked Rich up at the airport, even before they
picked up his luggage, Andie confessed to the whole thing, telling him that
this time she was now a confirmed smoker.  Rich again, as he had twice
before, assured her that if she wanted to, it was OK and that he loved her
whether she smokes or not.  She assured him that their children, and now
grandchildren, would not find out.  Andie even had a cigarette on the way to
the car.

Rich continued not to smoke for a month.  Andie did, in the house and when
they went out and she saw an opportunity.  But amid the cigarettes now always
in the house and watching Andie smoke, he followed.  They do not smoke when
they are getting together with family, but they do at other times.  Andie is
currently smoking about a carton of Benson's menthols a week.  Rich smokes
Benson's Regulars, about a carton every three weeks.  That includes the ones
of his that Andie smokes when she runs out.


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