Cancer sticks

It seems that this page though published once has disappeared. So here it is again

Yesterday I had many occasions to weep. A lot of nostalgia. Some misery. Some anger. Some joy. All for love.

I was searching through a bag full of my daughter’s ancient cameras which were lurking in a corner of my son’s room when I came across these items. Two unusual cigarette lighters and a leather pouch, designed to hold a pack of cigarettes, so far a so ordinary, but with a little attachment for non- rechargeable lighter. I opened the pouch and there were a a few cigarettes poking out, as if to say, what a waste. Why didn’t you smoke me to the very tip too. ,

My mother’s. She died, primarily of lung cancer, in 2006. She had smoked all her adult life, and the cigarette seemed to define her. For me she was like Audrey Hepburn, graceful, glamorous, and never without a fag in her hand. She never apologised for it. Even when social pressures developed. The first time we went to a restaurant which had just introduced no smoking rooms, she insisted we went somewhere else! I rarely remember her so assertive.

Smoking for her was a way of life, a comfort, a prop, part of personality and style. It killed her, but she accepted it. Her oft repeated mantra was – of course no one knew how bad it was. Was that entirely true? I don’t know.

What I do know, is that her particular scent, tobacco mixed with the strong sweet eau de parfum, acts like a Proustian madeleine, and when it hit my nostrils after 16 or so years, it was particularly poignant.

A strange post, I suppose, and although I wept briefly, the actual aroma of the pouch brought back many extremely happy memories.

Tomorrow is the feast of the Magi. May they bring you health, wealth and happiness.

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