I should have smoked more cigarettes.

by saracrolick

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I should have smoked more cigarettes. 

I know that’s not what I’m supposed to say here, but it’s true. If I’m going to say goodbye to the blissful, wretched everything, I am going to say it with a smoke between my teeth. A nod in the direction of the grandmother moon. Eyes closed, shielded from upward rolling tendrils. It was something I was good at, you know. You can be skilled at just about anything, and I was a nicotine artist. I didn’t believe in angry pulls, not dainty either. Slow, sexy, thoughtful. Everything you want a cigarette to be.

But I stopped smoking years ago.

I should have told him I love him, even when—especially when—he tired me. 

We grew into one another; we realized that toward the end. His not-taking-shit-ness dissolved my perpetually bleeding heart, until I found myself saying no. No is spelled with exactly two letters. No is interpreted in exactly one way. No. No. No. It’s easy, just try. The yeses evaporated from my crimson lips over the span of seven years and condensed on his sharpened tongue.

You stole my yeses, mister. 

Well, you stole my nose. Nos. No’s.

My arguments grew stronger than my biceps; but in my muscles’ defense, I went to the gym so much less. I should have told him he made me stronger. I should have told him he made me stronger in every way.

I should have kissed them harder, while they played, while they cried, while they slept.

Congratulations, you’re a mother. You’ll have approximately twelve restful minutes for the next two lifetimes because you’ve naively brought precious, delicate, clumsy beings into this earth’s thorny social climate. Half of these minutes will come as a result of too much whiskey on an unfortunate December evening. Three of these minutes will be earned by your hand (right) while you recline on your bed after a long (twice interrupted) shower. One of these minutes will arrive unexpectedly in a quiet house while you paint your toenails and pee at the same time. The remaining two minutes will be divided between each of their births—that’s right, child. You’ve been allotted one minute after each birth to admire the creature who was for so long within, but now rests very much without. For the rest of your maternal minutes you will pray to the sun and the stars and the wind and the moon. You’ll go mad on a daily basis. You’ll regret in ultraviolet. You didn’t know you could love until you became a mother. You didn’t know you could hurt until you became a mother. Congratulations on becoming a mother.

I should have abandoned the tomorrows; discarded them with yesterdays.  

Instead, I kept my collections far from dust and sticky fingers. I put them in mason jars, marked “Y” for yesterdays and “T” for tomorrows. I locked them in a closet, buried with the relics of all my I-wish-I-could-have-beens—a sewing kit, Rosetta Stone (Italian), pilates DVDs and love letters from someone named Frank. I didn’t know Frank personally, but I believed him when he told me I could do it my way.

I should have done things.

I should have done so many things.

Still.

Really.

But.

I should have smoked more cigarettes.

 

 

[Gala des Varietes Records]

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