Rita – Fourteen Years– Smoking Fetish Story

It was cold, icy cold, even in the early afternoon. A gusty, chilly wind blew snowflakes over us as Rita and I waited on the train platform. The gray sky prevented the sun from providing any noticeable warmth.
Rita and I had spent Christmas in the small city where we both grew up. Now, with two days left in the year, we’d decided to head back to our apartment New York City to ring in 1998 in the Big Apple. It was good to see our families and catch up with friends. And this year’s Christmas visit was more special than usual.
Rita and I had been together for ten years by then. We were high school sweethearts, falling in love our senior year. We’d stayed together through college – even though we went to schools that were an hour apart, somehow we made it work. After that, for two years, I kept us financially afloat as a small- town newspaper reporter in upstate New York, while she got an advanced degree in nursing and started her nursing career. Now we were in the big city, and Rita’s nursing job was paying the bills while I sweated through my first year of law school. We’d built a pattern of supporting each other as we worked toward our dreams.
And on that Christmas Eve, we had taken a big step toward a joint dream we’d been thinking about for a while. After ten years together, I had proposed to Rita on Christmas Eve. We’d been talking about it for years, and it was just time. Rita was ecstatic but not surprised – she had dropped many clear hints about the type of ring she wanted, and we had even loosely sketched out wedding plans.
Our families and our friends were overjoyed, and perhaps relieved, that we were finally going to “tie the knot.” The proposal had kicked off a whirlwind of activity in our small suburb of a small city in upstate New York. Everyone wanted to see us for a drink, check out the ring, ask about our plans, all of it. That had been great fun for a few days. But now we were a little worn out, and wanted to disappear back into the relative anonymity of a city of seven million people.
Between the cold and wanting to get back to New York City, we were happy to see the train slowly wheeze into the station. Rita and I often took the train from
New York to our hometown, and enjoyed the three-hour ride without the headaches of trying to get out of New York City by car. As the train slowed, Rita and I headed for the last car. This was 1997, and while Amtrak had banned smoking on many of its trains, many others still had a “smoking car” which was usually the last coach in line.
This one had a smoking car. And it was mostly empty, so Rita and I found two seats near the middle of the coach. I stowed our luggage in the overhead rack while Rita made herself comfortable by the window.
The train had barely started moving again when Rita opened her purse. It didn’t take her too long to find what she wanted in it – a Marlboro Red. After being with Rita for so long, I knew when she grabbed her purse what she was going to want. So, I pulled out my lighter and lit her cigarette, before lighting my own Marlboro Light.
Rita took a deep puff and looked out the window. The train was pulling out of the station, and through the cloud of smoke that she exhaled, the scenery started to move – slowly, then faster.
Rita dangled her cigarette between her lips as she set her purse under the seat in front of her. She had a very natural way to her dangle, as if the cigarette was just a part of her being, as if it belonged nestled between her lips. This natural quality to her smoking didn’t surprise me, as Rita had been smoking for more than half of her twenty-seven years. When we started dating in the summer between our junior and senior years, she was already smoking almost a pack a day of Marlboro Reds – abetted, no doubt, by her mother’s two-pack-a-day habit. I had just started smoking then, a seventeen year old sampling the forbidden fruit of tobacco. Even as a kid, though, I was attracted to women who smoked cigarettes. Our smoking helped Rita and I forge a bond across our different native high school cultures: Rita, the denim-jean-jacket-wearing, heavy- metal-listening wise mouth who was smarter than she let on, and me, the upright debate-club, student-government nerd.
In the decade since then, restrictions on smoking had started to ringfence where Rita and I could smoke cigarettes. But these limitations were loose, compared to today. Restaurants had smoking sections, and bars were thick with blue-gray clouds of smoke. Rita smoked a pack a day most days, and a little more on weekends. For my part, I’d made a couple of half-hearted attempts to quit

cigarettes along the way, either cold turkey or by switching to cigars. When these failed, I fell back on my half-a-pack-a-day Marlboro Lights habit.
Along the path of our relationship, I’d confessed my smoking fetish, and highlighted that I was turned on by her smoking 120s. I was grateful that Rita was not turned off by my turn on, and while she never saw herself as smoking long cigarettes on a daily basis, she’d occasionally smoke a Virginia Slim or a More for my viewing pleasure.
Now at full speed, the train bumped its way south toward New York. Taking advantage of the comparative quiet next to the busy days we’d just had, Rita held up her hand to study her engagement ring. She smiled and nestled close to me. “Stan, I love this ring,” she said quietly.
Still leaning on my shoulder, Rita took a long puff on her Marlboro and inhaled the smoke deeply. By coincidence, as she exhaled, a sunbeam broke through the late-afternoon sky, filling our seats with light. The sunlight illuminated her cloud of exhaled smoke. “Wow!” Rita chuckled. “Smoky when the sun shines in here, huh?”
I laughed and then Rita continued. “Speaking of smoky,” she said, her tone a bit more serious, “are you going to try to quit again for New Years? I heard you and your friend Joe talking about that a few weeks ago. It’s okay if you do, Stan. I just want to know. I’ll support you no matter what you want to do.”
“No, I don’t think so,” I said, ashing my cigarette in the little ashtray in the armrest of my seat. “I thought about it. Joe is going to try to quit again. I think I might try again, maybe after my first year is over. I don’t know. I know I don’t want the hassle of quitting right now, though,” I smiled. “What about you? I heard your friend Colleen telling you she’s making a New Years’ resolution to quit. Have you thought about it?”
With her head still on my shoulder and my arm around her, I felt Rita’s chest expand slightly as she inhaled a puff of smoke. She thought for a few seconds, holding the smoke in her lungs before exhaling another cloud of Marlboro smoke. “No, I’m not going to quit,” she said, flatly.
Rita ashed her cigarette and was quiet for a little while. “Maybe this is something we should talk about, Stan,” she said, holding her cigarette out in front of her. “I’ve thought about this some. All of the talk about quitting for New

Years, the same time every year, right? I’m always asked by somebody when I’m going to quit. And every year I think about it, and I realize I don’t want to. Maybe I can’t quit, either,” Rita said.
She took a last, short puff off her cigarette and crushed the butt out. Through a talking exhale, Rita went on. “I’ve been smoking for fourteen years. That’s a long time. I can’t just quit. And, honestly, I like to smoke. Yes, I know how bad it is for me. Everyone who smokes knows that. And I know I can’t smoke everywhere, and we have to sit in this one train car, all of that. But I really don’t see myself quitting, ever,” she said.
Rita turned her face towards mine as the smoke from her last exhale slowly dispersed. “But this is the thing, Stan. This is my fear. I’m afraid that one of these times, you’re going to quit smoking, and it’ll stick for you. And then, you wont be able to stand me smoking, and how it makes my clothes smell, and how my cigarettes will make the apartment smell. I’m afraid you’ll start to get on my case for smoking, and it’ll become a thing between us.”
I paused for a second before responding. “Oh, Rita, never. That’ll never happen. I love you whether you smoke or not. You were already a full-time smoker before we met, remember? I accepted you that way. I still do. I’ve never complained about you smoking even when I’ve tried to quit. And that’s never going to change. Ever,” I said.
Rita smiled a bit, seeming reassured, at least for the moment. “Okay, Stan. I believe you. But if you ever do give me grief about smoking, I’m going to remind you of what you said here on this train going by, what is this town – Ravena?” she asked.
“Yeah, I think it’s Ravena. You can call it the Ravena promise,” I said.
Rita nested her head back on my shoulders. “The Ravena Smoking Promise,” she said.
We sat for a few minutes, listening to the train, feeling the gentle bump as it headed south, and staring out the window. Rita asked me to get her a wine from the café car. I returned about five minutes later with a small glass of wine for her and a beer for me.

As was always the case for Rita – and, frankly, for most smokers – an alcoholic beverage needed to be accompanied by a cigarette if possible. I promptly lit Rita’s Marlboro.
“So, if you ever quit, are you still going to light my cigarettes?” Rita asked with a smile after exhaling her first puff.
“Of course I am,” I laughed. “What kind of heathen husband would I be if I didn’t light my beautiful wife’s cigarette?”
Rita smirked. “Well, we’ll see. When the day comes that you’ve quit smoking and you stop lighting my cigarettes, that’ll mean you probably subconsciously want me to quit. At least that’s how I’ll interpret it.”
The next morning, I woke up early in our small apartment. Rita was still sleeping soundly, and our apartment was so tiny it was impossible to do much of anything without making noise. I didn’t want to wake her up, so I got dressed and decided to go out for a walk.
I figured I’d pick up some bagels and the morning paper. It was warmer that morning in new York City than it had been upstate, so I enjoyed a longer walk than I had planned around the neighborhood. I thought hard about Rita’s comments about being a lifelong smoker, though, and her fear that her smoking could come between us someday.
When I came back to the apartment, I set the bagels in the kitchen. Rita was just starting to wake up when I went into the bedroom with a cup of coffee for her. She smiled at me and instinctually reached for her Marlboros on the nightstand. I lit her cigarette as she looked quizzically at the package I held in my hand. The package was a bag with a bow on it and an envelope labelled “Rita” under the bow.
“What’s that,” Rita asked, exhaled smoke punctuating her words.
“Open it,” I said, handing her the bag. “Sorry it’s not wrapped, but it was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing. I was thinking over our talk about smoking yesterday, and this was the best I could do at that little tobacco shop on Bleecker Street. And the card store on Broadway had a bow, at least.”
Rita opened the bag and inspected the contents: two cartons of Marlboro Reds and two packs of Virginia Slims 120s. She gave me a knowing smile when she

saw the Virginia Slims. Reaching further into the bag, Rita pulled out two medium-length cigarette holders.
“Cigarette holders?” Rita asked. “I’ve never used these before.”
“I know. But remember we’re going to that party in the East Village on New Years’ Eve where everyone is supposed to dress like it’s the 1920’s? I thought you might want to try those as accessories. One is for your Marlboros and the other is a little smaller, so it fits the 120s,” I said.
“Oh, thanks, Stan. I’ll definitely try the holders. But you didn’t have to buy me cigarettes, I have plenty,” Rita said.
“I know that too. Well, uhh, you should read the note. The cigarettes sort of affirm what I put in the note. It’s in the envelope,” I stammered.
Rita opened the envelope and withdrew a note I’d hastily written that morning on a park bench, trying to collect my thoughts. The note read:
Rita –
I appreciate you telling me what is on your mind. I want that openness between us to continue. It’s one of the things we’ve done for ten years now, and it’s kept us together wherever we’ve been.
On the train, you told me you were concerned that if I quit smoking, I’d nag you to quit –
that I might even go so far as to stop lighting your cigarettes. I want to assure you I’ll never nag you or stop lighting you up. Since we’re talking about our long-term future, I wanted to put my promise in writing. I promise this to you for life.

As you said on the train, you’ve been smoking since you were thirteen years old. You’re twenty seven now, so that’s fourteen years. I don’t
know if I’ll ever quit smoking. someday. Or just smoke cigars. nasty pipe like your Uncle Frank. choose to quit.
Maybe I will, Or smoke a Maybe you’ll
We don’t know what the future will fully hold. But know this: I’ll never nag you or ask you to quit smoking. And I’ll always light your cigarettes. I respect you’re a smoker, just as you respect that I am one too. My respect for you will never change, and neither will my love for you. This is true whether you smoke or not.
Fourteen years from now, you’ll be forty one. Maybe we’ll have kids as we’ve planned. We’ll wake up one morning to the pitter-patter of feet – who knows how many, but hopefully we’re not raising them in a one-bedroom apartment in Greenwich Village. Assuming we’re not, we’ll both stir early one morning when we hear the kids getting up and moving around the house. I’ll let you go back to sleep while I get their breakfast started, and I’ll come back into the bedroom with a cup of coffee to help you wake up. As your eyes open, you’ll reach for a Marlboro. And I’ll happily light you up.
Fourteen years after that, you’ll be fifty five. Maybe the kids are still living with us, maybe

they’re not. But there will come a rainy Saturday afternoon when the children will be out somewhere, and we’ll have the place to ourselves. We’ll putter around the house for a while, tending to the minor tasks that pile up during a busy week. When it’s time for a break, we’ll put on some good coffee. Because nothing goes better than a cigarette with coffee, you’ll pull out a cigarette. Maybe it’s one of your tried-and-true Marlboros. Maybe it’s some other brand that has struck your fancy. Maybe it’s a Virginia Slim or a More, as you know how you smoking the long cigarettes gets me fired up. Either way, I’ll light your cigarette and we’ll enjoy our coffee. Then, with the kids still out for a bit, we’ll sneak into the bedroom and enjoy being intimate. And I’ll light your cigarette after that, too.
Fourteen years after that, you’ll be sixty nine. The kids will call to check on us from time to time, busy off building their own lives. Maybe they’ll be giving us grandchildren, or maybe not. Either way, we’ll be retired to someplace warm. Florida, perhaps. And we’ll spend our days golfing or antiquing or going to the beach, or whatever retired people do down there. One evening, we’ll cap off a beautiful day with dinner outside, watching the sunset. As the sky slowly turns magenta and then fades into a dark blue,

you’ll finish eating and pull out a cigarette. And I’ll light your cigarette for you.
Rita read the note slowly and puffed on her Marlboro. When she was done, she crushed her cigarette out in the ashtray on her nightstand. “Oh, Stan,” she said, wisps of leftover smoke coming out of her mouth in little pulses. “This is so sweet. You really did listen to me.” She moved the bag of cigarettes and the note to one side of the bed. “Come here, you,” she commanded.
I sat on the bed next to her and she gave me a deep, long, wonderful kiss. The taste of fresh smoke on her breath was like heaven to me. After we kissed slowly and passionately for a few minutes, Rita broke off our kiss. She stared into my eyes for a second or two.
“Hang on. I want to try something,” she said, reaching into the bag. After a few seconds of rummaging, she pulled out a Virginia Slim 120 and fit the filter into the cigarette holder designed for it.
Rita put the end of the holder between her teeth. Looking at me, she winked seductively. “Can I get a light?”

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