Walking around in the Chicago night with the friends I’ve made, I notice the smoke wafting through our group. I watch it draw out from the cigarette held between fingers and passed from one to another. I watch the smoke, how it dances on everyone’s shoulders and hair before vanishing into the warm air. It dawns on me then, nearly everyone that I’ve made friends with smokes. In my group of friends back home, almost no one smoke, and some are are even against smoking. They dislike the taste, the smell, how its scent clings onto thread, and how unhealthy it is.
A few blocks later, another cigarette is lit and passed around. I don’t smoke for all the obvious reasons. I find it unhealthy, expensive, and unnecessary. But then I can’t seem to explain those moments where in great stress, I think to myself about how I want to drop everything and get a pack. How in the heat of a moment, in the frustration of an argument, I just want a cigarette. I think that goes to show what kind of thoughts cigarette companies and the media have placed into my head. My boyfriend jokingly predicts I’ll start smoking in Chicago. I deny his claims but it does make me ponder on how an environment and its inhabitants can change a person and their habits. I start to wonder what kind of things Chicago will do to me and I wonder if any of these changes will be permanent.
We jay walk across the street to get to the train station. Two people linger behind, taking the final puffs before stomping the cigarette out. Where do all the stomped cigarettes roll to? At the party, everyone is smoking. I take a long time finishing my only can of PBR.