I quit smoking today.
I preformed a ceremony on my patio, I smoked the last cigarette from the pack in my desk drawer while playing guitar. I have nearly always had a cigarette while I played guitar on my apartment patio. The wind was blowing and the clouds were in disarray, the sun was setting. It was almost 9 o’clock when I drew in the final sliver of smoke, my eyes closed, holding the C/G chord.
I played three songs, all in the key of Emin, or it’s Major fifth respective cousin. Open chords and considered picking were the tone of the event. There was not a conscious effort to play this both uplifting and somber sound, but when I was done I was relieved that my hands found the sound.
Choosing to stop smoking was a long winded decision: a decision this impactful should not be taken lightly, and I thought very carefully on the consequences of my actions. Down this path was irritability, and strain. Sleepless stress and swollen panic are my companions, now that my body’s nicotine reserves will be slowly dripping out of me. A world’s worth of commentary warned that it is something that should be feared, trying to stop smoking is near to impossible for some, and impossible for others. I imagine that this is what staring into the abyss is like, it stares back at you; staring unceasingly, looking at you as you look at yourself. Looking at the clouds wisp by long enough, feeling deeply and immeasurably close as the wind rustles the hair across my body I remember that all it takes to make a sheet of glass into a mirror is draping something black behind it.
In draping black behind glass it’s transparency will be void and left behind is just a reflection. If the light is brighter, shining on the glass, and if at the wrong angle one can be blinded, but sometimes and all of a sudden, one sees themselves much more clearly, in the glass’s visage .
I worried that the experience would take that affect, that I could enjoy such a quite and personal moment only so long as the smoke lipped over me, but it didn’t. The moment extended long after and even now, it will go on doing so for as long as want it to. “I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul”, said the poem Invictus to me at that moment, as it does now. And while the draw to return will be great I will not allow someone or something to command me. No siren’s call will take myself from me.
Tonight I have appreciated both a setting Sun and a patios guitar as eulogy to my affectation, and vice.
Now where’s the wine…