I spent some time last night chatting with a smoker. They aren’t rare here, or disregarded. Despite the protected status of the nicotine-smitten citizens of the city, things have changed. Indeed, even Vienna, time capsule that it is, has modernized slightly since I moved here, and I no longer must suffer through the winter with my coat reeking of stale tobacco if I dare set foot in a bar for even a flutter of a moment.
The issue was, she was smoking the cigarettes I used to smoke. She had quite a few of of them, but kept insisting that each new cigarette was her second. There were 3 or 4 “second” cigarettes. It was entertaining, she’s a funny girl, and she looks cute when she smokes. That was the lethal thing back then, being told I looked good when I smoked.
And the whole time I was watching her look cute and forlorn through a cloud, my mouth was watering.
I cannot start smoking again. Absolutely not.
And yet today, I am reading, and still thinking about it. About how nice it would be to stop thinking about everything that plagues me and pick up a cigarette. To watch the smoke curl about the corners of the page like a cat in need of a cuddle. Wouldn’t it be romantic to have something else to occupy my mind than all this knowledge, and nonsense, and (god forbid) all these fucking emotions.
I’m asthmatic. We’re in the midst of a lung disease epidemic. I am far too logical for this.
But, wouldn’t one more bad habit solve everything?
If I am going to pick up smoking I will have to give up starting sentences with capital-A “and”. And I would rather die.
“I see that, too. Everyone here is broken. All these women I meet and they want love but they just can’t. You just look at them and you see, they can’t. I don’t know what it is about this city, if we all come here because we’re broken, or if the city makes us that way.”
“I always say, ‘Vienna is a city built on Roman ruins and heartbreak.”
But, I want to stay. At least for a little while.
I’m going to set roots, and grow like a weed from the cement.
I’m here to officially revoke my membership to the Broken Hearts Society.
Give me the form to fill out, the hotline to call. Go ahead, charge me an extortionate cancellation fee.