Smoking In Bed

If there's one thing I like, it's smoking cigarettes in bed. Really, and truly, it is has always been a joy. Whether on one's own with a book or a movie, or with a woman. Just to lie, head propped up on pillows, artfully exhaling. A joy.

Sometime after I left home, I rented a room in a house at the top of the hill in Upper Bangor, just down from the train station. It had a green door. I shared with a woman and a man. I remember nothing of the woman, and all I remember of the man is the rage in his eyes when he bawled me out for eating his cereal. I was pretty poor then. I made roll ups in bed, and smoked them, listening to The Smiths and reading Martin Amis. I was sixteen then, and I had it made.

A year or so later, I was in the midlands. After I got arrested, but didn't go to jail, my probation people found me a room in a clean, warm house, with a pair of clever, tall men, who took in waifs and strays and read poetry and discussed politics and finance. I liked them. One was blonde, and one was brunette. I don't think they were gay. I would get in from the pub at midnight or so, and watch Duckman on their television, then I'd go to bed and smoke Embassy Number Ones, or joints, if I was prosperous, or lucky, and listen to Babybird and read books about rock stars, or writers, or poets. I loved that room. It had two single beds in it. I liked the one nearest to the window best, but sometimes I'd swap just for the change. The wallpaper was striped vertically, cigarette stain yellow and dried blood red. One time I dropped my butt end in the wastepaper basket and set it on fire. I woke up before any kind of inferno. I thought it was pretty funny.

A little later on I found myself living in a small room above a chip shop with a broken window and no heating, or warm water, in Birmingham in the middle of winter. At night I lay awake, wrapped in damp blankets, listening to Slint on my walkman headphones, reading Hunter Thompson, and wondering if I was about to get burgled by the chip shop owner's sons and their friends again. I fucking hated that room, but I loved lying on that mattress, in that cold swamp of blankets, smoking cigarettes.

Once upon a time I lived with a woman, in London. It was us, and her friends, a gay couple, who called themselves called Meece and Fluuf. I liked them, they were alive. Soon after we moved in together, she stopped smoking. Smoking in bed was out the window. I would lie awake as she slept, dreaming silently to myself. I'd get up sometimes, and smoke in the living room, and play Grand Theft Auto, but it wasn't the same. I felt like a naughty little boy. When I smoke in bed, with book, or movie, or woman, I feel like a man. I feel like my own man.

I know I say it a lot, but I will quit smoking, soon enough. I don't feel like a naughty little boy too much anymore. I don't have to prove much to anybody, least of all myself.