Cigarettes: Just Like Candy

Carla Prieto

Cigarette Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.

My love affair with cigarettes began at an early age. The first one I ever tried had no filter and had a bumpy and chalky texture. It came in a long, flimsy, red box that read “KINGS” with a crown underneath, which I had gotten in a goodie bag from a friend’s birthday party. It was candy.

I took mine out and began chewing it after my mom took hers out and lit it, the smoke billowing elegantly above her and blending into the hot summer air like thin branches of an infinitely tall and bare acacia. She sat on our hardwood porch, lined with impatiens and gardenias and buzzing with bees, while I sat on the green summer grass not too far away, watching her lounge coolly with wonder and admiration.

At four or five, I didn’t know much about cigarettes. Why didn’t she have to…

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