I Just Started Smoking. Again.

News of a lump reignites a long-extinguished craving
by Terri Solomon, from Urbanite
July-August 2008
Add to My MSN

Content Tools

Related Content

How Do You Say No Smoking in Chinese?

Over the last 30 years, U.S. cities and states have taken up various smoking bans. No smoking in bar...

DNA Microarrays as Overwhelming Art

The scholarly article reads like an art review: “A grid of red, yellow, and green spots glows agains...

Why Can’t We Have a Rational Discussion About the Afterlife?

Even if scholars could concretely prove or disprove the existence of life after death, chances are w...

From the Stacks: J Journal

From the John Jay College of Criminal Justice comes the new J Journal: a strange and delightful hybr...

I just started smoking again. The doctor told me today that I have a lump in my breast, and as I held my hand over the mass, suddenly all I knew was that a cigarette would taste good. I could feel the remembered heat coming in, going out. I needed that.

I walked to the end of my street of single-family brick homes, two blocks inside the city line. I walked into the 7-Eleven, right up to the counter, an open square near the front of the store, and asked for a pack of Marlboro Lights, the only brand I’ve ever smoked, a white suburban kid’s type. If I were anyone but a creature of habit, I would have picked Newports, which everyone around here smokes, or Camels, which my ex used to inhale. But I couldn’t think.

As I walked back up my street, I sucked on that long, thin cigarette and felt my breast, fingering the lump as a lover would. After years of not smoking, this new inhalation made me dizzy, and I had to stop on my front porch, an unattractive slab of concrete with a black wrought iron rail, and hold my head in both hands. Then I could unlock the front door and then the inner door that led to the stairs of my one-bedroom apartment. Now, I thought, I see the world as it really is. It swirls around me, and only when I stop do I notice that everything is spinning.


Terri Solomon is a poet and a high school English teacher who lives in Baltimore. She has since stopped smoking. Reprinted from “What You’re Writing,” a regular smattering of short essays submitted by readers and published in Urbanite(Feb. 2008), the magazine for Baltimore’s curious. Subscriptions: $18/yr. (12 issues) from Box 50158, Baltimore, MD 21211; www.urbanitebaltimore.com.

Post a comment below.


Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!