It was the seventh time that he had gone into the washroom to clear his nose in the last thirty three minutes. He had withdrawal symptoms, his body was screaming, so was his throat, laying bare the fact that it had become used to the presence of nicotine around his major bodily functions that included the regulation of dopamine to think, act and decide.
He relished it.
He was comfortable in the sense that he was purging his body of the intoxicant he hated the most, because its high wasn’t worth the repercussions, it wasn’t worth the behavioural change his body had to undergo and adjust, welcoming the arrival of a new substance, that would soon go against its host and stab the entire body system and its inherent processes, making the host dependent on the guest even for relieving oneself early in the morning.
With each gulp of edible liquid or solid, he felt his throat resist, just a little, reminding his senses that it would prefer nicotine over everything and anything that was available, so much so that when he closed his eyes from time to time in order to feel his breath, images of himself smoking cigarettes while lounging around near a restaurant overlooking majestic hills, flashed across his mind, which only strengthened his resolve to not give in to his cigarette cravings at any cost. He would not surrender, no matter how bad the temptation.
He hadn’t been able to concentrate all day. His nose kept running. His throat kept itching, as each second passed by, ever so slowly, putting all his senses into a lull, as if waiting for his body to fling itself against the nearest comfortable surface to try and sleep, but ensuring that sleep would never come, stubbornly making sure his head throbbed continuously, voices reverberating across his head, constantly cajoling him in a sly voice to make the short distance to the small shop that sold cigarettes near his work space, and scream at them frantically to hurry up and save his life.
He relished it.
He felt as if he were paying back for every drag of smoke that his lips had gently sucked out from the precisely manufactured cigarette, in the form of acute suffering that knew no bounds, in spite of the fact that he had been fully aware of what he would be getting into, by sacrificing his will for the instantly gratifying pleasurable smoke, which promised bliss, only to take back its due later by taking hold of the very same mind it sought to enlighten, to bend it to its will of ensuring that even if someone checked out whenever they sought to, they could never leave.
A very slight voice inside his head kept telling him to give up his stubborn refusal to not seek out the chemical, cleanse his body and live pure again, but another voice, equally resolute, kept telling him to endure the angst he found himself in. Minute by minute, he felt his body heat up, its self-defensive mechanism trying to bake the nicotine induced cravings before it baked his will and pushed him over a metaphorical cliff that seemingly led to a bottomless pit of dependency from which there was no return.
He thought about thermal power plants using coal, emitting plumes of thick exhaust smoke, trucks and cars with their familiar exhaust odours that whiffed past his nose, into his lungs, and felt nauseated by the entirety of the scene, coupled with an exodus of humanity who were bellowing out smoke while they talked, sang, and danced.
He relished all of it.
It wasn’t that he regretted all of this completely, something, somewhere, deep, deep inside the recesses of his mind, he knew he had wanted this. He had wanted to understand what the substance did to one’s perfectly fine human body, a body that was subject to the whims and fancies of its own mind, which absorbed all manner of external stimuli, before making the grand decision of whether to smoke or not to smoke.
She had messaged him for tea.
He had jumped out of his chair, all his thoughts about angst, agony, resistance, resilience and endurance, out of his mind, as he jolted back to the present. He felt wonderful. This was exactly what he needed, a chance to have a good quality conversation over green tea, whilst enjoying the company of someone who was equally on the same boat as him, especially in the face of a continuous battle against the temptation of substances that constantly cajoled them to indulge and neglect long-term well-being in favour of short-term instant gratification, a deal that involved plastic people, alien substances and mind manipulation.
He relished it.