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Sunday, February 05, 2006

smoke

A little nonfiction which fuses into fiction, maybe the beginning of something?

When I was little I would watch my grandmother smoke, fascinated.  I'd run giggling through the cloud of smoke that surrounded her and for the entire rest of the day my clothes and hair and skin would smell like smoke.  This fascinated me, how the scent could linger for so long.  It seeped into the pores of my skin and hair, clung stubbornly.

Looking back later, I was incredulous - still am - about how this was allowed to happen.  I was asthmatic - still am - and my parents were normally so careful about my health.  They made my brother and me wear seat belts long before most people commonly did so.  They were very careful about our safety and yet I was allowed to play in Grandma's secondhand smoke every weekend and that makes me wonder, now, why that was allowed to slip through.

But that clinging smoke, that stubborn refusal of the smell to leave makes me think of you and about how when I met you I ran giggling through your very presence and for years I haven't been able to get the feel of you, the smell of you out of my hair and skin and clothes.  No matter how many showers or shampoos, no matter how many times I launder your shirt as soon as I pull it over my head I smell you again and I inhale deeply even as I know that the effects could one day kill me.


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