June 23, 2009
By JustSmile BRONZE, Marshall, Missouri
JustSmile BRONZE, Marshall, Missouri
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

A typical day in the life of a smoker: You wake up, take a long hot shower, down a quick cup of store bought coffee, and continue on as if you're life is actually important. Which, in very many cases, it isn't- or so you think. Smoking is the one thing you look forward to. You find yourself digging in the back of your living room couch to scrape up a few nickels; it may not be a lot, but every cent counts towards your next cigarette purchase. I never quite figured out why I started smoking in the first place. Sure, I was an intimidated freshman in high school who wanted to be someone. To fit it, to feel confident in myself. But is that really the case? I was the type of girl who once listened intently to the DARE teacher, while my immature classmates would pass notes around. What went wrong? Is it really that possible to just have a change in mind suddenly? I'll ponder all these questions until the day I die. And hopefully, my death won't be from lung cancer- the pitiful result of my ongoing ignorance.

With the speakers blaring a popular rap song and windows rolled down all the way, my bashed up cavalier steered into the Caseys parking lot. Propped in the middle of two fingers on my left hand sat an already lit cigarette. The other hand was suspended out the window, tapping the side of the red car to the song's beat. Faces turned in my direction, scowling. I ignored them as I pulled into a slanted parking space separated by thick yellow lines. Taking one last puff of my cigarette, I dropped the foul smelling stick to the concrete ground, hopped out, and headed into the gas station building. Inside was the all-too-familiar scene; processed muffins and bakery goods in the front entrance, soda and other liquids at the back of the room, growing colder by the second in the refrigerator. Displayed on shelves that formed the aisles were chips, candy, and countless unnecessary snacks. With a deep sigh, I meandered towards the check out counter. A college aged girl stood there with her name tag reading Jessica, looking bored as she slowly trimmed her fingernails. When alerted to my presence, however, she immediately snapped her head up. “Back already, Lauren?” she asked challenging, though I knew she was used to my coming 2-3 times a day by now. I said nothing as I scanned the cigarette brands; it took one minute before I was finally satisfied. “_________, please,” I announced. Sorrow filled her dark green eyes, but she spun around and grabbed the ___ box anyway. “Don't do this,” she pleaded, and I silently cursed myself for choosing this day out of the week to restock my scarce supply. “Just give me my cigarettes,” I snapped, and she hastily obeyed, shoving the box into my outstretched hand. “You have an addiction, Lauren. ” I snorted loudly- did she think I didn't know that? “It's none of your business,” I replied, anger in my voice, “now let me pay for these dang things so I can go.” She pressed something on the cash register and says the numbers I've memorized so well: “$3.09.”
I dug around in my coach purse, collected the money, and handed it over. My heels turned right and I started to leave, but as I open the glass door she called out, “My grandpa died from lung cancer, you know.” Once again I said nothing, though my heart skipped a beat. Why couldn't she just leave me alone? What was I to her? I gripped the cigarette box and stopped walking. The door swung shut behind me, and I knew without looking back that she was still staring at me, waiting for me to get in my outdated vehicle. But my feet didn't move; they couldn't. I stood there, taking in everything before my eyes. People filling up on overpriced gas, teenagers huddled together drinking Cokes...
And yet I couldn't find it in me to just drive off. For everyone in town all knew what I was did at home; smoke, eat, sleep, and go to Caseys to buy more cigarettes. I didn't deserve this. But then again, I didn't have the strength to stop it, either. With a glance over my shoulder, I locked eyes with Jessica. She shook her head, mouthing something that I couldn't understand. I hurriedly turned back around and got in my cavalier, started the engine, and put it in reverse. My thoughts were simple as I drove out of the parking lot: here we go again. Past the usual stop signs, past the usual houses, past the usual water hydrants, and to the usual routine of smoking, eating, and sleeping. Please, don't ever make my mistake. Don't start smoking for stupid reasons. It may seem as if everyone does it, whether it's your middle school or high school classmates, friends, or even parents. Because if you avoid smoking, and the addiction that follows, you won't ever have to face the girl behind the check out counter at Caseys.

The author's comments:
I wrote this story on a rainy Monday morning. For days and days before I had been trying to come up with a good idea, something worthy to present to other people. On Sunday night, I came across my old DARE worksheets and I thought about how so many teenagers nowadays smoke. People need to realize the danger of this. Kids at the age of seven are developing eating disorders. Pretty soon, kids at that age will start smoking too. So when Monday came, I got right to work, and wrote this in 30 minutes.

Why did I write this story? To alert girls and boys upon the dangers of smoking, and that it can become very addicting. Most teens start smoking due to peer pressure or wanting to fit in, and that shouldn't ever happen. I'm not trying to sound like some nanny here, keep in mind. I'm a teenager myself! But luckily, I am sane and mature. I just want to inform everyone in the world that they have a choice. It's their body, not someone else's. Treat it right!

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