A Note, To Myself

May 4, 2012

Something rather important happened recently and I’m still recovering from it.

Here’s a hint of it, though, and it’s only one facet of a very complex emotional problem. Do not take this as my entire, or only, emotional state. Just know that it is one.


I had never smoked before her.
We were together for a long time, quietly whispering to each other whenever we could. We did not spend much time near each other but I screamed my attraction and adoration as loud as I could so she could feel it where she was. She would glow for me, quietly, tell me that she missed me. Then the glow started to fade. I told her that it was fading but she didn’t hear me. She told me that everything was fine though I could see it wasn’t.
So I started smoking, so I couldn’t see her.
Now that she had admitted it, all I had left was the smoke. It curled infront of me in wonderful curves and beautiful waves. The burning sensation, the crackling of the paper igniting and the fire turned in toward the tobacco, was comforting. The searing feeling in my lungs and throat warmed me. Self destruction always made me feel a little more alive. A little more whole.
My hand shook slightly as I flicked the ash away. I’m not lucky enough to have escaped some kind of bodily damage over the years, though mine is genetic. I don’t have all of the control over my muscles that I need. It’s twisted my joints and broken my balance. It causes me to shake continually like I’m always experiencing my own personal earthquake. The smoking doesn’t help this at all, of course.
But it feels good.
The night was cold. The stars were cold. The street was cold. But I enjoyed this. I had raged for months now, I had been hot and angry and furious for months. Now I could be cold. I could be inert. I could stop feeling and just be for a while. Die for a while. I could watch the sky and the stars slowly dance around me and stop feeling as awful as I have for months upon months. I inhaled again and I felt that rage and anger and fury burn, turn into smoke and ash in my mouth, and I exhaled and I was cold again.
Some people cry, I smoke. I let it out in pain and fire. Fire purges all things.
The wind still whispers her name to me. It hurts but it’s a cold hurt now. An old scar long since healed over the wounds taken in war. It creaks in harsh weather, it makes me pause now. I’m used to this, though. When the wind in any relationship blows, I feel the sharp pains of old scars flaring anew. Scars that crisscross my back from other women, other children little more than girls, who had hurt me when I was young. She thought she knew how to heal me, but she didn’t listen when she asked questions. She thought she knew me but she never sought to find the truth. Now when the others come to me, when my dearest love comes to me, I cringe and shy away. I fear the scars will find out and the wind will blow and the pain will return. The cold pain, the icy pain through my back. My heart.
I smoke instead. The pain is hot and fast. It purges. It’s pure.
I stared at my hands, shuddering softly in the wind, and I closed and opened my fingers slowly. The silence in my mind, in the street around me, rang with the sharp snap of my bones. My joints split and sounded like trees breaking in a sharp wind. Tiny, powerful trees shuddering and tearing free in a maelstrom of violence and fury. Then they were quiet again. Warm, flooding pain from my hands filled me. I inhaled again and felt a similar fire stretch down my throat and into my lungs. It burned. It was pure. I wasn’t cold.
I smoke. I strain. I don’t cry, though. It hurts too much to cry anymore.
When I was young, someone tried to tell me that I didn’t need to be cold if I didn’t want to be. She held me close and whispered that I was wonderful, that she would keep me warm, she would sooth me. She would keep me from the fire inside. That’s not all she taught me, though.
There’s a price to pay to be warm. A price in blood, in pain, in madness.
She left many of the scars on my back. She was the one that drove the fierce icicle deep into my heart and taught me to be comfortable with the cold. I’m not lonely. I know the price of being with someone now. The price of warmth. The price of compassion.
I didn’t smoke with her, though. I didn’t start smoking until much later. Others came and went. Left their own scars on my back. My sides. My face. My heart. Others taught me to feel the storms and winds coming. Others taught me that my needs caused me nothing but pain. Anger. Frustration. They taught me that it was best to wait out the storm. Perhaps, even, to warm myself from the coming winds. Each time, though, I thought that I was mistaken. Each time I met someone new and she took me in and looked at my scars and she held me.
Then she found a new and interesting way to hurt me. She didn’t mean it of course. I’m cold. I’m broken. I’m scarred. It’s not their fault I’m like this. It’s not their fault I’m followed by the storms. The winds. The cold.
The last one, though, she taught me to smoke. The fire purges the cold from me. The anger from me. The pain. It purges everything that ached once, the feeling of pain long since forgotten in the bliss of constance. The normalizing system of adaptation.
I exhaled again and watched the smoke curl in the sky. I felt the cold fingers seeping through my back and sighed. It is better, I think, to be cold now.
So I put the fire out. Maybe for good.


2 Responses to “A Note, To Myself”

  1. Ebin Says:

    I love this piece.

    In a way, love is like leaves in a pipe. It’s ignited and coddled so sweet and gently, then consumed to experience its heady vapors. We see it losing potency long before it’s gone, but we keep going…

    When it’s over, all we have left to do is let the bowl cool and pack it again as soon as we’re able.

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