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Passive Smokers, Impassive Wives?

Leah Gebber and Chany Rosengarten

The risk. The expense. The smell. The stigma. In the past two decades, society has made a 180-degree turn regarding the acceptability of smoking. The overwhelming no! has become more than a choice about healthy living — it’s taken on moral overtones. Which leaves wives of smokers in an excruciatingly difficult position. Two wives talk of lit cigarettes and singed hearts.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

cigarreteI didn’t realize, when you finished our first date so abruptly, that it was because you were hankering for a cigarette. I thought you were nervous, or that there was a minyan you had to catch. And I liked you — your refinement and sensitivity impressed me and I found myself opening up to you. I could talk about anything — my parents’ difficult divorce, growing, learning, connection with a rav. So even though our backgrounds were different, we found a little patch of ground that we could inhabit together.

I didn’t realize, on our second date, that when I asked if you smoked and you told me yes, that you thought I was okay with it. I wasn’t okay with it, but I realized that either the date was over, or you would light up. I wanted to continue our conversation, so I opened my window while you puffed through yours.

I didn’t realize that I was naive to believe your solemn promises of quitting. I thought that your commitment to me and our future negated a nasty, expensive habit. But our engagement was rushed — there was a choice of getting married before Pesach or waiting for months, until after Shavuos. And the friction and tension were almost unbearable — my parents weren’t on speaking terms and yet, we were all trying to play happy family as we decided on a hall and a band. So when you asked me if you could wait until after Pesach to quit, I smiled and told you that I understood and that I trusted you.



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