EPILOGUE - Many Years later
QUITTER has long been a member of that 6% club.
(A particular moment in a particular day for no reason whatsoever - a trigger out of the blue, some long ago sense memory kicks in.)
QUITTER: (strongly craving a cigarette) Wow, what’s this sudden urge? Ooooh baby but I’d like a cigarette. Aaaaagh I really want a cigarette. Geez. I can’t believe after all this time I’m having a craving.
NICODEMON: (grinning and dancing with delight) Told ya. I said I’d always be there, that I’d “sit on the back of your mind forever.” So? You ready now? You finally ready to give in? Give up? Say that I’m the winner? I mean, come on... Really. You want this. Right? You always wanted to go back to your smoking self. Because it.... felt so right, tasted so good, gave you what you needed that you’re not getting now by the sacrifices you’ve made, (gently) even after all the benefits you’ve acquired by quitting. The... (can’t think of any, naturally) Oh well, you know what they are.... Right? Right? Come on. One won’t hurt you. It’ll just relieve this moment of - angst. This moment of distress. You don’t need to buy a pack - just bum one... and inhale that lovely remembrance of all those good things, those good moments, those relaxing times, the reward for a job well done, that break time, that (practically purrs) smooth soothingness of smoking, the enhancement of a meal, or that - that smoke with that drink!!! Remember?!!! How great that was?! (jovially, like old times) And you’ve never really felt that good since you quit, right? I mean, being out on the back deck smoking with your friends, with your spouse?? At the casino! Come on. Get that back. It was so nice. You’re just not YOU without your smoke. Face it. (Laughing shrug)
QUITTER: (briefly being pulled, wanting, but resisting and then remembering, with all his many years of quit experience, the tricks of his old nemisis. He breathes deeply, calming to the acceptance of knowing this Nicodemon character oh so well.) No. You lie. The only thing you relieve is a craving. You cause the craving, then relieve it, only to cause it again. You’re clever, I’ll give you that. You hooked us into believing you were the answer to everything in our lives - all our woes, all our frustrations, the enhancement of all our fun. The be all and end all. We awakened with you and went to bed with you. We grieved with you and laughed with you. We made love and you were there right after to steal our sweet breaths and turn them sour. You made us believe that we could not be whole without you. Could not live without you, in fact. (With a slight smile) It’s amazing how many people who never smoked in their lives manage to survive, isn’t it?!
I DO feel just as good as when I smoked. Better, actually. I have more energy and stamina. I used to barely be able to walk into a store, now I can walk a mile (recalling that old Camel ad)...but not for you anymore. My cough is gone and my sense of taste and smell has returned. I’m no longer a rain huddler, no need to hide my smokes. I don’t have to miss out on moments of my life because I’m attending to you. And best of all, every waking moment of my life is not centered around you. Because I’m free. I’m no longer your slave. You may always be in the very back of my mind, tickling now and again. But, you see, you’ve lost your power. Because I recognize you for what you are. A liar and a thief. A master deceiver. And I practice mindfulness and quit maintenance. I stay connected to those who are not only going through their first whispering conjurings from you, but to those who, years later, have succumbed to those same whisperings. And I learn from their failures and your winnings. And I learn from our winnings and your failures. I’m stronger than you. For now. And for now is all I’ve got. And so I pay attention. Oh yes, I’ll grant you, attention must be paid to you. Or rather I pay attention to your absence. I will never take my quit for granted.
NICODEMON: (not quite understanding) Ah. Uh huh. (Very quietly) Still - I’ll be waiting for you....
QUITTER: (smiling calmly at this old ‘friend’) I know. (With a grin) And that’s fine. I accept that. But you won’t best me. Because, I know what you are. You’re part of the “old me.” You are the last remaining nicotine receptor left in my brain. You little bugger! (Laughing) And once in a very brief while you manage to fire yourself up. (with almost fond humor) But, my dear, you have lost your potency. You ain’t what you used to be. You’re a firecracker that got wet. (not unkindly as he turns his focus away) See ya.....
NICODEMON: (can’t think of anything to say. Crawls meekly into the distance, diminished - but doesn’t die.)
End of Play? Who knows. The rest is yet to be writ......by someone else on their beautiful smoke-free journey. Is that you?
To begin at the beginning click on the following link: Prologue