I woke up to the stench of a newly lit cigarette, the first one of the day. I knew it was only the beginning, she had two packs left to smoke just in the day. July 12th 2014, the day my life was shortened and my dreams would crash… All because my step-mother, or as I like to call her, The Shrew, decided to smoke like the cigarette would light her way to heaven. I called her The Shrew because I was inspired by Shakespeare’s articulate expressions of how he felt about his life crisis.
I dreaded the existence of The Shrew. Her voice made me want to strangle her. Her hair made me want to shave her bald. Her scent, the most wretched smelling perfume, made a fire burn inside of me. A fire that could never be extinguished. I’m not one to hate nor to wish misfortune on others, but for her… I wish the worst suffering anyone could imagine. She’d make dinner, but I couldn’t eat. Apparently, for her, the fans were a necessity to live in a small confinement, also known as the Penitentiary. The ashes from her death whistle would blow all over the abode causing me to gag.
I had to suffer a whole year in that gas chamber, inhaling all the toxins and exhaling my life. Some may say I’m being dramatic, others may ask why I didn’t leave the room. Well the answer to that question is simple. The fumes filled the residence. There was no escape. The smoke would wrap its hands around your neck and squeeze the breath out of you as if you owed it your life. The stench of the cigarette slowly disintegrating made my stomach twist into a knot that made you wish your life would end. That’s not how cigarettes work. They hold you for a long while, and then, when you’re not looking, they steal from you. They steal the smokers life, a nonsmokers life or someone’s dreams. There’s no telling of when, or how, this criminal will proceed.
I was a runner. I ran cross country sixth, seventh and eighth grade. In high school I played soccer. I ran when I was gloomy, enraged, or bored. I even ran when I was joyous. My Vo2 Max was my pride and joy. I flaunted it as if I had just won a marathon. My Vo2 Max was a 42 starting in July, and then it slowly dropped as began to wheeze while I ran. I hit rock bottom at the end of the year when my Vo2 Max dropped to 24. It threw me into a frenzy of frustration and depression. Now I’m just lucky if I can run a mile without my lungs feeling like they are about to wither away.
The way my momma raised me was on the value of life. You never put someone else in danger for your own selfish needs. It’s inhumane and revolting, just like that horrendous stench that seemed to have replaced the oxygen in the air. The day before I graduated I took my belongings and rushed to what would be my new living quarters until August 12th, when I move in a dorm room. Which is yet another stop before I reach a home that is hopefully waiting for me in the near future. I instantly took all my clothes and threw them into the washer to erase the stench and the memories. The stench faded, but the memories remained. I will never be able to get back the part of life that has been stolen from me due to a wretched woman’s selfish needs and the flaming stick of death that she hold between her revolting lip glossed lips.