I liked her a lot when we met. I liked hanging out with her in her apartment in the
Upper Eastside, listening to Hinder and chain-smoking on her bright red futon. I wouldn’t call her beautiful, but there were moments in between pulls of my cigarette when I could say she was pretty. Her personality was like a cloud of smoke; it filled the room for a while then spread out into thin air. What turned me onto her was her honesty. She reminded me of Avery from Jerry Maguire. She was brutally honest. See also: blunt, frank, a kick in the gut. It was easy to tell her what was on my mind. It was always sans the bullshit. Blunt people are often the easiest people to deal with, because, like them, you can say whatever you want. And I didn’t have to dance around for an hour before proposing a swim in the sheets. Sex came as natural as inhaling… and easier then exhaling.
I was seeing a couple of girls at the time and my friend nicknamed them all by where they were from. There was Pennsylvania Girl, Jersey Girl, and Riverdale. This is about Pennsylvania Girl.
She went home every other weekend to visit her mom and her sister, who were still living near
. She didn’t tell me till a year later that she never felt right in Pittsburgh and that she needed to go home every other weekend, for her own sanity. I picked her up from the airport a couple times. The first time was because I really liked her. The second time was because I wanted to have sex and the other two girls were busy. The third time was the last time and I only did it because she always brought me something from Manhattan that I couldn’t live without, at the time. Every other week she brought me a carton of cigarettes. They were cheaper in Pennsylvania . I gave her money for the first carton but after that, we started to get close and were having sex regularly. The cartons became gifts. After a few weeks, I found myself bound by an unspoken contract. Pennsylvania
It was nice not paying for cigarettes but when I lost my feelings for her and thought about breaking it off, I couldn’t help but think about the money I had saved. I decided to stay.
I still liked hanging out with her but she was changing. I was her boyfriend and she treated me as such. She reminded me of a Stepford wife. She was clingy. See also: dependent, insecure, stop texting me!
I was an inmate. I had sex with her, she gave me cigarettes then I went home smelling like smoke and shame. I’d spend hours driving around, listening to angry music, smoking, and convincing myself to break up with her. But as soon as I convinced myself, I’d realize that I was out of cigarettes.
My Seven-Step Program
1) call Pennsylvania Girl
2) find parking
3) all kinds of sex (she was actually really good)
4) get paid in cigarettes (or was I paying her?)
5) drive home defeated
7) cry yourself to sleep, see also: why, Glenn, why?
I lost hope. There were only two options. Quit smoking or Spend the rest of my life with her. I prepared myself for eternity…
But one morning, weeks later, I woke up earlier than usual and decided to go for a run. It had been months since I exercised last and I coughed the whole of a mile before walking back home. My chest was burning, my throat was burning… everything was burning, but I couldn’t help but smile. I found my way out.
I went to her apartment that evening with a nicotine patch somewhere on my back (I didn’t want it to get peeled off if we ended up in bed (I was usually on top)). I told her about my disastrous morning run and how I decided to get back in shape. I showed her the patch and explained how it worked. She said she was happy for me in between pulls of her cigarette. She asked me if I wanted to watch some soft-core porn on Cinemax, and I told her it was over…
I had broken free and was actually able to go six months before lighting another cigarette. We eventually started hanging out again and I slept with her a few times before she moved back to
. She was Avery again and I remembered why I liked her before. There were no more free cartons, just sex between friends. Pennsylvania