Sunday Journal: Love affair disappears in a puff of smoke

After being together for 36 years, I finally say, "It's over, I won't be seeing you any more. Get lost." But inside, my heart began to palpitate. Help, someone, please help me get through the agony of being alone.

You and I have been constant companions. I fell asleep with you every night and couldn't wait to awaken with you each morning. Do you remember the times I was up in the middle of the night with you?

How will I live without you?

You have been with me in places other friends have never been allowed, private places. We went everywhere together: bike rides, long car rides, the grocery store. There was not a doubt in my mind, you were my best friend. I thought we would be together forever. In my mind it was always, "Until death do us part."

How will I live without you?

Was there anyone more desirable to share my morning coffee with? Was there ever another whom I thought, "If you're gone overnight, how could I stand to awaken in the morning without you?" I was the one that at any hour of the night would jump in my car, walk if necessary, to find you so we could share each new dawning of the day together.

How will I live without you?

Now the shock has subsided a little. Of course I told absolutely everyone that we were through! Naturally they were supportive of my decision to end the relationship. That did not help me miss you any less.

It's not easy being alone. How strange it felt to go to bed that first night and know that you would not be there to comfort me when I awakened. Trust me, it was a sleepless night. I tossed and turned, and finally switched on the light and read for hours. Would I ever be able to sleep through the night without you?

Slowly I started to put away the special things around the house that reminded me of you. I put away all of your favorite ashtrays. Oh darling, remember when I could never find a lighter for you? I found them, all five of them, and put them lovingly away with your memory still deep in my heart.

How will I live without you?

It has now been one week. I have finally come to my senses. To think of all I put up with for you all these years, and for what? So you could dirty every ashtray in the house and I could wash them? I put up with your smell and stood by quietly as you burned the tops of my beautiful furniture with your carelessness. I cringe knowing you ruined the beige couch. That burned spot on its arm will always be a constant reminder of your nonsense.

Do you realize I gave up exercise to spend more time with you, to say nothing of the friendships I gave up because they didn't want you in their home? And then I remember when Aunt Martha came to visit. She turned up her nose, and said, "Darling, do you have any room spray? There is a dreadful smell in the living room."

You know my father was against this relationship from the very beginning. He didn't like you from the moment he laid eyes on you. You can bet he is delighted we are no longer together. Why, why, why, did I foolishly start this relationship?

Thank God it's over! You are gone, and I am no longer addicted to you. I should have listened to my father and the surgeon general. My darling cigarette, you were indeed a hazard to my life.

Barbara Hansen is a writer and interior designer who lives in St. Petersburg .

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Sunday Journal: Love affair disappears in a puff of smoke 08/28/10 [Last modified: Friday, August 27, 2010 6:59pm]

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