My thoughts: the secret smoker
If anyone ever offers me a cigarette, I always reply: “No thanks, I don’t smoke.” But I’m lying.
I started smoking at 16. I thought it made me look grown-up, but I was shy so I’d do it on my own. I would go into the woods near my home, or occasionally “bravely” have one in the house if nobody was else in.
Even when I went away to university, I kept my smoking secret. Now I’m in my 30s. If I was ever going to come out, I should have done it when I was younger, instead of appearing to be someone who started smoking for the first time at an age when most people are trying to give up.
I wish I could go outside with the public smokers at work or in the pub. I’m jealous. I think they’re cool, and honest. But it just doesn’t fit with how I see myself, and I worry I’d smoke too much. Instead, I wait until I’m alone, take out my packet (I keep it hidden in my car with mouthwash and mints) and have a crafty two or three.
There have been a few close calls, though. I once left the pub early and had just lit up when a friend came around the corner. Luckily, it was dark and he walked straight past me. Another time, my lighter fell out of my pocket – I said I’d picked it up from a table at a cafe. And I was mortified when a shop assistant once asked if I’d come in for my cigarettes; I now try to buy each pack from a different place.
It’s stupid, I know, but it could be worse. I’m not harming anyone but myself and it’s legal; I could be a secret heroin addict. Plus I’d undoubtedly smoke more if I did it in public. I will stop soon. But of course, no one will ever know.