The final cure

She watched the smoke rise, aimlessly observing that today it looked more blue than grey; and trying to figure out exactly what trick of light caused it to sometimes appear more grey than blue.

But this was not an important consideration. In the depth of her belly the longing, the hope, was always present. She stared at the narrow, hand-rolled stick, at the wisps rising from the ember in twirling lines, dispersing into the atmosphere, and she thought of all those death-giving chemicals disappearing into thin air. She took a hungry suck at the spit-dampened tip, and another, felt the poison sink deep within her. She would not let the smoke be eaten up by the ether. The cigarette burnt down to the end. She extinguished it into the overflowing ashtray, and rolled another thick one.

All troubles receded into the background in the face of her resolve. Ignoring the nausea, she focused on her lungs, on disease, on death. Cancer, a final cure for all of her ills. She put her faith in it.

If it worked, her children would grieve, recounting the times they had begged her to stop smoking before it killed her. Mercifully, they would never know that they had given her the idea.

©Jane Paterson Basil

25 thoughts on “The final cure

  1. Jeez, Jane – that’s a dark and twisted tale. Very well written – you almost feel the smoke in your own lungs. Interesting – a long, slow suicide by cigarette. Whatever gave you the idea?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t expect to get much feedback from this – it could be considered pretty offensive.
      You asked me a question – two years ago I wanted to be dead, but suicide was out; I couldn’t do that to my family. That’s when it occurred to me that a smoker may try to take that way out, so it wouldn’t look like suicide. Suicide leaves terrible scars in the hearts of loved ones.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sad to hear you felt that way. I do hope things feel brighter now.
        It’s a slow and painful way to go, though.Masochistic, some might say – a self-punishment. Offensive or not (I think not myself) I think it’s very well written Jane x

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Maybe. But I’ve had several family members who died from cancer and I didn’t find it offensive. The disease is offensive, but not your story. I thought it was very incisive – I’m sure there are a lot of people who hide such motivations even from themselves.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I hadn’t thought of that. It’s a sad thought.
              By the way, I’ve just built my new blog about addiction. So far it only has an About Page, but it’s a start. Now maybe I’ll be able to put the different areas of my life into compartments – I think that’s what I need to do, so that when I walk into a depressing department I’ll know there is a way out. Feeling very positive suddenly 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Excellent idea, compartmentalising. Then you’ll have a place for your addiction work and a sunny place to come too – a place you know is always there, even if things seem dark at the time. Eveyone needs a bright place to go. 🙂

                Liked by 1 person

                    1. Yes, not a small problem, that. It could either be a pleasant challenge or an unwanted extra pressure on top of the ones you already have. I do hope it’s the former.

                      Liked by 1 person

  2. Isn’t it funny that smoking being used for a hopeful way to commit suicide is something people don’t normally think about? Perhaps because there really is no control over it at all when compared to other kinds of attempts. Smoking doesn’t guarantee you’ll get cancer. And science now knows that you can GET cancer from breathing in 2nd-hand smoke. Cancer is NOT an easy way to go, though. It’s been a nightmare watching Greg’s cancer eat away at him.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Today my sister is FINALLY taking the big step to buy a handicap van because it now takes three or four people to get Greg in the car from the wheelchair. She’s worried about the money, but I think the less stress will MORE than make it worth it. Can’t wait! He’s not doing well. More scans this Friday to see what the brain tumor is doing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That will make so much difference. I have a friend who is tetraplegic. The people of the village generously got together and bought her one of those vans – a Mercedes. Without that she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere, and she needs to – she spends most of her life in bed, watching her beloved horses and putting on the occasional bet. It was horse riding that paralysed her.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That packed a fair punch! I had to remove my comment turned essay…but might make a post from it some time in the next week or two, so if you get a straggling pingback you’ll know why 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I got a lot of flak for posting that I wished I had cancer instead of depression, at least I’d have something to show for it, to prove it. Maybe it’s just us wanting what we don’t have… The offence people take at this line of thought though, just shows how little they know about depression.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Depression is a horrible dark pit which is impossible to struggle out of. In my opinion there is nothing more disempowering.
      Cancer is also terrible, but it is easier to rebel against it.
      You wouldn’t have got any flak from me – you’d have got a hug instead, although I know that depression can leave you feeling so isolated that a hug doesn’t do much good, if any.

      Liked by 1 person

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